Delivering on a Promise
The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program has been a well-loved part of the Bates/Lewiston Public Schools experience for many student mentors (“bigs”) and their mentees (“littles”) for over 20 years. Initially operated through the Child Health Center in Auburn, and then through Community Concepts, it is now offered through BBBS Mid-Maine. Bates students commit to a one-year match with an LPS student at Connors Elementary School, but many of these matches last for the entire four years that Bates students reside in Lewiston, creating long-lasting friendships that sometimes even surpass those four years.
Each spring, BBBS typically holds a field trip that brings “littles” to the Bates campus to have lunch in the Dining Commons with their “bigs” and to experience a bit of campus life. This year, because Bates students left campus in March amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the field trip was cancelled, disappointing many of the “littles” who had been looking forward to this special time with their “bigs.”
In response, Jennifer Cartmell, manager of the BBBS program in Androscoggin County, decided to bring the field trip to them through personal deliveries of letters and activity packets from their “bigs,” a pizza from Sam’s Italian Foods, and a Bates bobcat t-shirt and pencil supplied by TD Bank. These visits helped lift their “little” spirits and renewed their feeling of connection to the program and their Bates mentors.
In the words of Jennifer, “The Bates ‘bigs’ have continually been supportive, positive resources with their heart-filled, sensitive, and loving attention. In light of the pandemic, they have continued to provide the children this care, with over 160 letters written by and to “bigs” and “littles” since March!”