Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County Receives $30,000 Grant

Cooley Dickinson Hospital recently awarded CHD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Hampshire County a $30,000 Supporting Youth Wellbeing grant to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) youth in Amherst through mentoring.

The grant, amounting to $10,000 a year for three years, will expand mentoring opportunities for minority youth referred to BBBS through the Amherst Regional Public Schools Family Center.

Since 1975, BBBS has been fostering friendships built on trust, learning and growth by matching kids in Hampshire County with a mentor, or “Big,” who joins the network of other caring adults in a child’s life. Bigs spend time with their “Littles,” creating a valuable connection and empowering them.

According to BBBS Program Director Susan Nicastro, mentoring relationships provide invaluable experiences for children to build confidence and reduce social isolation.

In addition, BBBS case managers connect families in Hampshire County with other community services, creating a web of support with the school system and other partners, including the Amherst Survival Center, and CHD’s Family Outreach of Amherst.

“We believe our program is an ideal fit with Cooley Dickinson Hospital’s priority to build unified communities that listen to youth and support them,” said Nicastro. “We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with Cooley Dickinson Hospital as we work together to support youth in reaching their full potential through one-to-one mentoring relationships.”

Pictured: a recent “Big” and “Little” match.

Thinking about volunteering as a mentor or know someone who would want to more about BBBS mentoring? BBBS has a growing waiting list of kids in Hampshire County hoping to be matched with “Bigs.” To sign up for a Volunteer Information Session, contact Susan Nicastro at [email protected] or 413-478-8547.