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Last fall through a block grant the FGP program was provided Samsung Tablets for the program. Most of the volunteers didn’t have any idea how to even turn on a tablet or use a smart phone. Mary Donnelly, Senior Corps Volunteer Staff Specialist, brought them to each of the volunteers with some training materials and spent time with them giving a demo on the different apps. (And a lot of time back and forth via the phone and in-person). They are having a great time with them.
Some of the volunteers were able to join their classrooms via zoom and do one-on-one with students who needed assistance. In addition, we had an outside vendor do 41 hour group training sessions on how to use zoom, email, and google classroom. “All and all the tablets have been successful and my volunteers are really enjoying them. This at least got them away from the television and some of them could do zoom meetings with their families who are out of the country or the state.
Fifth grade became a life-changing time for Nate – that’s when he and Tim Holden formed a supportive and caring relationship through our Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Previously, Nate had lacked a male role model in his life and had few resources to experience extra curricular activities. Their partnership and friendships changed all that as they spent quality time together worked through the many struggles Nate faced. Tim helped Nate with school work and science projects, took him to his first baseball game and first amusement park, and many other fun activities. Tim also taught Nate the value of hard work, finding him jobs where he could earn money. Together, they gave back to their community through volunteering. Tim showed Nate that with perseverance and hard work, Nate’s future was limitless. In the fall of 2011, Tim saw Nate off to Fitchburg State, where he is thriving. They still schedule time for each other and have truly become “brothers.” Says Nate, “Big Brothers Big Sisters has found me a great mentor that I can look up to and count on as being my best friend that I will have in my life forever. My Best Friend, My Mentor, My Big Brother.”
Carleen G. has been a Foster Grandparent for over 9 years. She has been a mentor, companion, supporter and motivator for many children. Recently, Carleen was granted a volunteer award from Lowell Public Schools where she was honored for her service in helping children achieve success.