The Keene State College Big Brothers Big Sisters Club held its first meeting of the semester to reconnect and discuss plans for the rest of the year.
On January 29, the club met to make stress balls and welcome new faces for its Bring-a-Friend night. Members of the executive board were present as well as Karen Brook, the program coordinator at the Keene office for Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire.
The club meets for half an hour every Wednesday at 7 p.m. to plan the three events it will throw during the semester. The club works with Brook to put on events for children in the Keene Big Brothers Big Sisters Program.
According to Brook, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire has five offices throughout the state, including Keene. The program is the nation’s largest and oldest mentoring organization, and they carefully match children and volunteers. Bigs, the mentors, go through an interview and screening process, and they are paired with their Little, a child from the community enrolled in the program, based on their experiences and personality. Brook said the office likes to work with Keene State College not only so there are more Bigs for the children but also so the students can have the opportunity to work with children and get off of campus once a week.
“When you’re in college you have that bubble sometimes, so getting out of that bubble and having something to look forward to is important. It’s good for your soul,” Brook said.
Brook continued to explain how there are two programs offered by the Keene office, but most students are involved in the program that runs during the school year. The Bigs spend an hour a week with their Little at their school or an after school program, playing games, having lunch with them or sitting in on their classes.
Courtney Drew, current president of the club, is a sophomore and has a Little through the site-based program. She described her Little as a spit-fire who loves the monkey bar, and explained how the program has impacted both her and her Little.
“She is the highlight of my week. I think it’s really important to her that I come every week, and that makes it important to me,” Drew said.
Similarly, Nicole Jones, sophomore and event coordinator of the group, and Daniel Humer, also a sophomore, have Littles they visit each week. Humer said that he noticed his Little has become more outgoing since he started visiting him. Jones mirrored his enthusiasm by talking about the experience she has had with her Little.
“There’s so many good things about it. She, honestly, helps me a lot. She brightens my day, and I know I do the same for her. Even just once a week for just an hour, I can tell it’s such an impact on her and her life,” Jones said.
If students wish to get involved in the club, Drew encourages them to show up to the next meeting in room 154 of the Science Center. They can help plan and attend the events without being assigned a Little, or they can volunteer as a Big. The club will welcome any new members and connect them to Brook if they want to volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Kiana Joler can be contacted