WBZ Cares: ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Help Mentor Kids

BOSTON (CBS) – Each month, WBZ Cares highlights a worthy non-profit organization, and tells the story of what that organization does for the community.

This month’s organization “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay,” is a mentoring organization that matches children from ages 6 to 14 with volunteer mentors.

At a recent holiday celebration in December, “Bigs” and “Littles” got to play basketball, ping pong and volleyball, even go rock climbing and bake cookies, at the holiday party. They also played board games like Jenga and Chess.

“Aww, I see what you did there. Now I am gonna go here,” said a child describing a recent move on the chess board.

Four-hundred children and their mentors gather to celebrate their unique friendships.

“I never really had a little sister, and so having Arayah has been just a whirl-wind of fun, and then I am also able to go to her and problem solve about different things and just really support her,” said Portsha Franklin who mentors, Little Sister Arayah Welton.

“She is a good role model. She helps me a lot with problems that I have in school,” Welton said.

Big Sister Portsha Franklin of Brookline and her Little Sister Arayah Welton, age 11, of Dorchester at Big Brother and Big Sister of Massachusetts Bay holiday party on December 10, 2016 at the Boston University Fitness Center (Photo Credit: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio1030)

Big Sister Portsha Franklin of Brookline and her Little Sister Arayah Welton, age 11, of Dorchester at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay holiday party on December 10, 2016 at the Boston University Fitness Center (Photo Credit: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio1030)

Lawrence Kessenich of Watertown, has been a Big Brother to 8-year-old Sam for over a year now, and he is loving every minute of it.

“He’s just a great kid. He’s a fun person to hang out with. He is always asking me weather I get paid to do it. I said ‘No, I don’t get paid to do it, I just like hanging out with you,’” Kesennich said “He is a really interesting person. And we have a good time. We laugh.”

For Sam, the feeling is mutual.

“He is nice. He’s kind. I think it’s really awesome to have him.”

The agency’s president, Wendy Foster, was also at the party with her Little Sister. She says their goal is to provide kids who need it with positive role models.

“The key is one adult, one child, spending a lot of fulfilling time together.”  She said

Right now one of their main challenges is finding enough male mentors.

Wendy Foster (left), CEO of of Massachusetts Bay and her little sister Shanell (right) at their annual Holiday on December 10, 2016 at the Boston University Fitness Center (Photo Credit: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio1030)

Wendy Foster (left), CEO of Massachusetts Bay and her little sister Shanell (right) at their annual Holiday on December 10, 2016 at the Boston University Fitness Center (Photo Credit: Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ NewsRadio1030)

“They don’t always have the confidence; they haven’t had as much experience with children generally. So we have to spend a little bit more money to work with guys and help them know that they will be awesome with kids,” Foster said.

Foster says many Bigs and Littles go on to form lifelong friendships.

“Littles are often in Bigs’ weddings and the relationships are so special there isn’t a Big who doesn’t say I’m really hoping that this will go on for a long, long time,” she said.

For more information about “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay” visit bbbsmb.org or the WBZ Cares section on CBSBoston.com website during the month of January.

More from Kim Tunnicliffe
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