Consider being Big to someone Little
“I'll come to him and tell him this really weird thing happened, and he'll say something like that happened to him, too. He's more helpful than most other people and gives me ideas I never thought of doing. If he doesn't know the answer to the question, he's always asking around for me,” said Cameron, a Little Brother about his big Brother Dave through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County.
It’s the little things, they mean an awful lot.
Teaching a skill or listening to a problem. Helping with homework or riding bikes. Taking a walk at a local park and going out for ice cream afterward, regular consistent visits only twice a month can make an enormous difference to a child or growing teen that needs a caring adult role model.
Knowing someone is rooting for the team – and for you - on the sidelines, at a baseball or soccer game.
The little things can bring the most joy into the life of a child, which is why Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County works to pair willing adults with youngsters who need a helping hand.
Children throughout Bucks County benefit from having role models and mentors through the Jamison- based program.
“There are far too many children right here in our own county who are in need of a sympathetic ear; a stabilizing influence in their lives when they are at their most vulnerable. I know, because I was one of those children,” said John Wilson.
Wilson grew up to become a successful businessman and is president of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County Board of Directors.
He benefited from having a Big Brother through the program, and he’s passionate about the difference those twice monthly outings made to his youth formation and successful adulthood.
At five years of age Wilson lost his father, a U.S. Army first sergeant. His European mother and four older sisters found themselves in America without any family support – Wilson’s dad was orphaned at a young age.
Wilson credits BBBS for finding him an anchor and a strong male role model, which he said “helped save my life.”
“What we did together in some ways wasn’t really remarkable, he simply included me in his hobbies of wood working and the outdoors,” Wilson said.
Bike riding, small craft projects, repairing old furniture or running errands. “We spent just a few hours a month together, but those moments were incredibly meaningful to me,” he explained.
Sharing your life with a youngster who needs a positive role model is what BBBS of Bucks County is all about, said Sharon McCoy, customer and community relations coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County.
“Children at risk need extra support,” she said.
The enrollment age for boys and girls is 7 to 14 years, or Grades K-10 “from Bristol to Quakertown and everywhere in between,” she explained.
McCoy said recent grants are provided through Pennsylvania Department of Health.
This new grant does not have an income qualification and aims to help families from a health perspective rather than income, while addressing the family impact of the opioid epidemic.
“While 60% of our "Littles" qualify for free or reduced lunches, our most recent grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Health is not based upon the Title 1 provision,” said Erin Simmons, BBBS of Bucks County director of programs.
Wilson’s Big Brother came at a time when he needed guidance and a strong helping hand.
What everyone – everyone needs is someone like John Wilson’s Big Brother, a steady, positive influence. For Wilson, his “Big” remains a part of his life and is godfather to Wilson’s son.
Wilson said they continue to visit and speak often over the phone, now more than 40 years after they first met.
From youth sports to high school and college graduations, marrying and starting a family and building a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, Wilson said his Big “…remains an active influence in my life to this very day.”
“I can’t think of a major event or decision in my life that he hasn’t somehow been a part of. He saved my life,” he said.
For more information, to donate or explore beginning a journey to becoming “Big” visit the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Bucks County website at www.bbbsbc.org.
U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick put audience participation first at the recent Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce hosted “State of the Nation” the third in its annual legislative breakfast series.
From capping congressional term limits and bi-partisan cooperation to solutions for transportation, infrastructure, opioid addiction and career pathways for young people, Fitzpatrick yielded the floor to give those attending a chance to ask questions about Washington policies, politics and the impact decisions make on the grassroots level.
After a brief issues recap, audience members had a Q&A format to put their thoughts, questions and concerns directly to Fitzpatrick.
David W. Freeman, QNB president and CEO, said the “shorter presentation with a longer Q&A session was in keeping with the audience’s interests.”
The switch allowed not only for questions but discoveries, too.
John Olson, vice president for wealth management at Janney Montgomery Scott in Allentown said he learned the opioid crisis was more layered and complex than it might seem on the surface.
Fitzpatrick said today’s crisis had long roots - going back decades to the 1970s, in which patient satisfaction surveys were tied to pain management standards in the pharmaceutical industry.
“Brian Fitzpatrick argued the root cause of the issue was a change in [those] reimbursement rates due to patient satisfaction surveys [from] decades ago,” Olson said.
Fitzpatrick said a change in perception was needed to help get those who need it most find and receive treatment.
“This is a colossal problem we’re dealing with. It’s a medical condition, not a moral failing,” Fitzpatrick said of opioid use disorder.
According to a recent report released by the American Medical Association, doctors are writing fewer opioid prescriptions to patients, a trend downward, which has continued over the past five years.
The report said one of the tools doctors are increasingly using is the state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) database.
According to the report, between 2017 and 2018, roughly 20 million fewer prescriptions were written - a reduction of about 12.4 percent, the report said.
Fitzpatrick said synthetic illegal drugs such as Fentanyl and Carfentanil are infiltrating street drugs and pose a dire threat to emergency medical, first responders and law enforcement through accidental exposure when treating overdose victims.
Most commonly used as an elephant tranquilizer, Carfentanil is roughly 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times stronger than Fentanyl, and it’s escalating at an alarming rate.
Extremely small amounts of it – even through skin contact – can be lethal, Fitzpatrick said.
He noted opioid addition is now “…the leading cause of accidental death.”
Fitzpatrick has made working across party lines a signature of his time in Washington D.C. where he serves District 1 including all of Bucks County, a small portion of Philadelphia and a slice of Montgomery County.
"He's working on legislation without focusing on partisan politics but rather sound solutions for our communities," said Danielle Bodnar, executive director of Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
Fitzpatrick is leading a bi-partisan committee whose primary goal is to adopt congressional term limits. “If it’s the only bill I get passed,” Fitzpatrick said.
"Brian Fitzpatrick isn't afraid to reach across the aisle to encourage bi-partisan legislation and roll up his sleeves to accomplish committee work to benefit everyone," Bodnar said.
About 50 area business and community members attended the event Friday, May 31 held at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place in Quakertown.
“State of the Nation” is the third in a three-part series hosted by UBCC at McCoole’s Arts & Events Place in Quakertown.
The series brings in local state and federal lawmakers to give the Upper Bucks Community an opportunity to listen and question elected officials regarding issues and policies.
Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce
An economic development agency for Upper Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
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