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Big Brothers, Big Sisters celebrates 60 years, in search of mentors

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 9:28 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A mentorship relationship can make a difference in the life of a young person, and the adult donating their time. That is why Big Brothers Big Sisters, is looking for more mentors in Central and Eastern Virginia.

“It’s really been such, I know this is cliché, but I feel like I’ve gotten more out of it than she has just because I’ve created such a great connection with her and her family,” said Denise Letendre, a “big” with the program.

Letendre first got involved with Big Brother’s, Big Sisters six years ago, meeting her “little” Skyy, through their school-based program. Letendre says the two have shared many adventures and Skyy is now starting her freshman year in high school.

“We’d go rock climbing, mini-golf. We would go for walks around Richmond. We did GoKarts,” she explained. “So basically anything active was fun. She also liked going to basketball games. We’d been to VCU and UVA basketball games as well.”

Letendre says her almost weekly outings with Skyy had to be reimagined because of COVID-19, but they often Facetime.

“That was a great way to connect and great for me. I live by myself, so to have somebody there to connect with every week and check in with was beneficial to me as well,” Letendre explained.

There are currently more than 400 young people on a waitlist to be paired with a ‘big’ through the program. Big Brothers, Big Sisters says they need just as many if not more, mentors, to volunteer their time.

“Think back to somebody who was a great mentor in your life. I know I had many growing up and think that person, contact them, thank them, and then take the next step to be that person,” said Letendre.

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