Mentor Mondays: The Pen Pal Program

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – Children eager to be matched with a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio no longer have to wait.

In January our organization launched the Pen Pal Program sponsored by the local organization, Newsymom.

This new program essentially eliminates the ‘waiting list.’ Littles now have the opportunity to immediately connect with a big by letter.

“We were very excited when Newsymom approached us about the Pen Pal partnership,” explained BBBS CEO Beverly Pearch. “This idea will not only give our waiting Littles someone to stand in their corner, but it opens up opportunities to promote literacy and penmanship.”

Pen pal mentors are vetted through an application process. Additionally, confidentially is maintained the BBBS New Philadelphia campus acting as the ‘post office.’ Letters from pen pal mentors are sent to the BBBS office and then BBBS staff members send the letters to the Littles and vice versa. Pen Pals have each other’s first names and ages, but no other personal information.

Nikki Antonucci was one of the first community members to join as a Pen Pal Big. “I have wanted to be a Big for quite a while, however, I am a single mom and couldn’t seem to find the availability to set aside,” she explained. “But when I learned of the Pen Pal Program I was more than excited. Even with my limited schedule, I’m now able to be a Big to a Little in need.”

Nikki added that the program has become something both she and her daughter look forward to. “She now gives me input on things to tell my Little, picks out stickers and coloring sheets to send in our letters, and it’s opened up a wonderful discussion about why this program is important.”

The Pen Pal Program was launched in January. Currently, there are enough Pen Pal mentors for every Waiting Little, however, as we add new children to our program, new mentors will be needed.

“This has been an incredibly positive experience and a blessing to my family,” added Nikki. “I would strongly encourage anyone who has thought about being a Big to do it! Becoming a Pen Pal is a great starting place.”

For more information contact Big Brothers Big Sisters.

 

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