June 2018 is a special time for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley. This is the month that the agency will be celebrating the graduation of its most longstanding match: Gary and Roy.
It was nine years ago in April 2009 when Gary, a resident of Bath, first met Roy, who lived nearby in Coplay with his mother. Roy’s mother Mariann had initially contacted BBBSLV after the passing of Roy’s father, sensing that her son would need the support of a caring adult male role model as he journeyed through childhood. Gary, who has two daughters of his own, contacted BBBSLV about mentoring when his daughters were almost out of the house and he knew he would have the time to help a child in the community.
While Roy was initially shy, it didn’t take long for Gary and Roy to bond over their common interest in the outdoors. Gary often commented that they are a good pair because “we’re both outdoorsmen.” As much as their common interests originally bonded them together, their ability to grow together kept them connected as Roy advanced from childhood through his teenage years, to now being a young adult headed to college.
When Roy started high school, he became very involved in the high school band as a trombone player. Much of his time was devoted to band practice and then playing at his high school games. Gary would say, “These days, I go where Roy is…the football games!” Gary and his wife faithfully attended the high school football games each Friday night, proudly cheering on Roy and the marching band.
Gary was honored as the BBBSLV Big Brother of the Year in 2016, and when he accepted his award, he jokingly told the audience, “When I first started meeting with Roy, he was little enough to be in a car seat. Now we are talking politics when I pick him up!” Things came full circle this past spring, as Gary helped Roy prepare for his driver’s license test. Roy passed the test with flying colors, and, with Gary’s help in mastering the dreaded parallel parking, Roy is now proudly driving to work at a local amusement park each day.
Roy is headed off to college this fall but there is no doubt that Roy and Gary will remain in touch. Gary has already mentioned heading out to see Roy at college once he gets settled. Roy has told BBBSLV that he counts Gary as one of most supportive adults in life and has noted that Gary really taught him the value of family, and most importantly of helping others.
Mariann summed it up best saying, “There is no other person you could have matched Roy with. He and Gary are two peas in a pod.
Local organizations team up to support Lincoln Elementary School students in Bethlehem through new mindfulness, art, and mentoring program
This fall, BBBSLV is excited to be partnering with Communities in Schools Lehigh Valley, Shanti Project, Baum School of Art, DaVinci Science Center, Wildlands Conservancy, and Touchstone Theaters on a new program at Lincoln Elementary School in the Bethlehem Area School District.
Thanks to a grant request made by CISLV, a new pilot program called "Honoring the Whole Child: Building a Practice of Mindfulness, Mentoring and Therapeutic Art” will be launched with Big Brothers Big Sisters as the mentoring partner.
We are seeking 20 responsible, dedicated volunteers to serve as adult mentors for a minimum of one year starting at the beginning of the fall semester. Each week adults will spend quality time with one or two assigned children (K-3rd grade) at the Lincoln Elementary School on Wednesday mornings from 8 – 9 am, sharing a bit of themselves while supporting the child(ren) throughout the school year as a reliable friend.
Please take this opportunity to make a child's life better forever by becoming a volunteer through this program. Together we can holistically enhance the lives of vulnerable children while nourishing their wellbeing and igniting the potential that lies within each one. Watching a child grow and blossom through dedicated time and attention is a gift without measure.
Have questions or want to learn more? Contact Kimberly Hopkins, BBBSLV Development and Marketing Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610.432.8000 x101.
Kathy Attinello, Head of Global Customer Service Enterprise and Technical Support for Dun & Bradstreet, has joined the Board of Directors of nonprofit community organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lehigh Valley.
An Easton resident, Attinello brings her skills in fundraising, developing budgets, and creating forecasts, as well as marketing communications to the 16-member board of directors. Her other community volunteerism has included chairing committees for Pennsylvania Youth Theatre and Easton High School Cheerleading.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to give back to my community by advocating awareness, support and involvement with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization that made a personal impact on my life and many other lives within our community,” said Attinello.
“We are delighted to have someone with Kathy’s career experience and passion for community involvement on our Board of Directors, said BBBSLV CEO Susan Bartels. “We look forward to her contributions and guidance in the coming years.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For over 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lehigh Valley has partnered with parents/guardians, schools, corporations, and others in the Lehigh Valley to pair children (Littles) qualified, trained volunteers (Bigs) and monitor these one-to-one relationships throughout their course.