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Guiding children in need of support
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More than 130 UB students take a break each week from their studies and jobs to serve as mentors, spending meaningful time with their “littles”—children in need of support across Western New York. They’re volunteers in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County, which was founded in 1971 as Be-A-Friend by its former CEO, the late Robert Moss, then a UB math major. Since 1981, it has been affiliated with the national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
“This is an important mentoring program for youths of all ages. A little guidance can go a long way.”
The mentorships focus on children who may have problems at home, in school or in the community. “UB students wanted to help,” according to Dennis R. Black, UB’s vice president for student affairs. “Young people in the community were in want of assistance. The UB–Big Brothers Big Sisters partnership matched student interest and enthusiasm with a clear community need.”
UB students’ reasons for volunteering as mentors are as diverse as their individual interests and majors. For Loretta Sun, a health and human services major from Brooklyn, it was a passion for community service. “I wanted to contribute a little more to Buffalo’s community since I attend school here,” she explains.
Sun is dedicated to her weekly visits with “little brother” Jay’lyn. “I admire his youthful energy and his curiosity in wanting to know more about the world around him,” she says. “If we as mentors can accept the "littles” for who they are and guide them in their best interests, we may be able to provide them with more knowledge to be able to take their futures into their own hands.”
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