Big Brothers Big Sisters is once again launching its “Waiting Little of the Month” campaign, following success from last year’s effort, to match four young boys with mentors.
This year’s campaign features Michael, a 9-year-old from Vineyard Haven who has been waiting for a Big for almost a year.
Michael is an active kid who loves to play soccer and board games, and go ice skating. Before the pandemic, Michael was learning to play baseball, and was trying to get involved with CrossFit.
“I want a Big Brother to help me explore new places on the Island and eat pizza with,” Michael said in a press release about the campaign.
Michael’s mother said she wants her son to find a Big who will help boost his confidence and find an activity that becomes “his thing.”
BBBS is working with each Big and Little match to ensure comfort levels are met during the pandemic. The program’s waitlist is the lowest in history on Martha’s Vineyard. There are four boys, including Michael, waiting to be matched with a Big. For information on how to become a mentor in the program, visit capebigs.org.
The program wants to build on the success of last year’s campaign, which matched Gabe with Rodney Speight.
Speight’s involvement with BBBS began when he read The Times’ story last year about Gabe, the program’s first ‘Waiting Little.’ “I saw this wonderful picture of a young boy, and I just felt like, Oh my God, this young man is looking for someone to be with,” Speight said.
Speight then applied to the program, and after going through the interviewing process, he ended up being paired with Gabe. “I never actually thought he’d be the one I’d end up with,” Speight said. “I was thoroughly delighted … he’s really a special young boy.”
While the pandemic has hindered some activities, Speight said he and Gabe are still able to do a lot of their favorite things, since they’re outside and can socially distance. The duo has spent a lot of time doing activities together such as walking on trails, biking, and kayaking in Edgartown Great Pond and Chilmark Pond. Gabe said a trip to Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown was especially fun.
They also play online chess — one of Gabe’s favorite things to do. “He’s never beaten me, and I’ve won against him five times in a row,” Gabe said.
Speight is still involved with his business in New York, but said working remotely during the pandemic has given him a lot more free time, which he’s glad he’s using to be a role model and mentor for Gabe.
“I wish it was brought to my attention sooner, because it’s been terrific,” Speight said. “Seeing the world from a young person’s eyes again — it’s beautiful … It’s a wonderful program, and anyone would be lucky to be able to mentor somebody that could really use a little help.”