I first began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands in October when my company, Convention Data Services (CDS), kicked off a mentoring program partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Bourne Public Schools. Having previously participated in other local service events through our Corporate Giving Program, I thought a mentorship program would fit perfectly in the CDS volunteering wheelhouse.
Each week five of my colleagues and I head to the James F. Peebles Elementary School in Buzzards Bay where we visit our Littles for about an hour during their lunch and recess to play games, talk and enjoy each other’s company. My Little Sister, Savannah, is in the first grade and already she has taught me so much. I’m learning more about her every week and she’s even taught me how to finger-knit.
Being a mentor has been a wonderful experience. Spending time with Savannah is the highlight of my week. In fact, she melted my heart by telling me that Wednesday is her favorite day because I visit! She is always so happy to see me, and her big smile and hug are incredibly rewarding. The best part is that our relationship has come so naturally.
Having gathered feedback from my fellow CDS Bigs, we’ve all immensely enjoyed the experience and feel it offers a great deal of perspective. The feeling that we can have an influence on someone else’s happiness is priceless. A particularly special part of mentoring has been attending activities, such as school concerts, and watching our Littles thrive among their peers. In the future we anticipate having additional employees become Bigs as we look to mentor more Peebles Elementary school students.
“Our partnership with CDS has been invaluable,” notes JR Mell, Regional Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands. “Without CDS leading the way as our first corporate partner in the Bourne area, these children would have gone without a mentor. We hope to serve more kids in the Bourne school district in the coming years by growing our group of CDS volunteers and working with additional corporate partners.”
Many CDS employees seek opportunities to engage with our communities and volunteer their time, making partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands seem like such a natural fit. Volunteering is part of our corporate culture at CDS. With nearly 200 employees, we have a lot of resources to help give back to the local communities. According to John Kimball, CEO at CDS, “Through our Corporate Giving Program we create opportunities for employees to donate their time through community service projects. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & the Islands allows employees to mentor right in our own backyard. Mentoring has been very fulfilling for our employees—they all feel that spending time with their Littles offers so much perspective. The CDS mentors are grateful for the opportunity to have an impact on a child’s life.”
Beyond providing a new friend for the Little Brothers and Little Sisters mentored by CDS employees, mentorship’s effects run deeper. Peebles’ guidance department and teachers have noted that the children involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program have felt more supported during the day, which can often lead to increased attendance and improved behavior.
As we look to increase our involvement at Peebles Elementary with more volunteers, we encourage both individuals and companies across the Cape to consider how impactful it would be to provide mentors for local youth, particularly in towns such as Hyannis, Yarmouth, Mashpee and Bourne where there are many children waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister. Becoming a mentor has been an incredibly fun and enriching experience that I would recommend to anyone. Knowing how rewarding it has been to spend time with my Little Sister Savannah, I hope others will take the initiative to give back and build relationships with local youth.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities or to explore a corporate partnership, visit www.capebigs.org.