The recent death of Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon called attention to some of his finest work - that of volunteering as a Big Brother mentor for a local boy. Sgt. Gannon mentored his "little" for three years and no doubt made a life-long impact on that young boy's life.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands is always in need of adults that can volunteer a few hours a month to spend time with a child. For the "little" you become a role model, a friend outside their typical network - someone they can count on for recreation, a respite from their daily routine and provide an opportunity to have fun in a safe, non-judgemental setting.
For the "big"... the best thing is you get to "be a kid" for those hours you spend with your little brother or little sister. Share favorite games, "do the Cape" with all its fun children's activities. Time spent with your "little" is a respite from your own daily routine as much as it is for him or her.
Your age doesn't matter. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod and the Islands has volunteers from 18 to 80.
Your experience with kids doesn't matter - if you've been a kid you will figure it out - and BB/BS has an excellent support network behind you all the time.
Many Bigs form life-long bonds with their little - bonds that can define both of your lives for the better.
Thirty-four years ago I was matched with a nine-year-old boy named Wayne. Our relationship endured far beyond his childhood - through college, the travails of young adulthood, injuries, a cancer scare, inter-state moves and countless other shifts in both of our lives. We both happened to be only children, more on the nerdy side, which made the journey all the more interesting for both of us.
Today Wayne is forty-three years old, well-educated, a successful professional, married to a wonderful woman and a phenomenal father to four boys - and he makes me proud every single day.
Volunteering as his Big Brother is quite simply one of these best things I've ever done.