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.
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