The Power of Community Based Mentoring

Martha and her family standing and smiling in a hallway

Bigs & Littles NYC Mentoring is not only a place where children thrive — it’s a place where moms who feel isolated know they will find a community of support. It’s where moms can access the resources they need — to be strong for themselves, and for their children. 

Two years ago, Martha came to Bigs & Littles NYC a strong willed, single mom of two boys ages 10 and 4, all sharing the living room of their grandmother’s one bedroom apartment on the Lower East Side. Martha was struggling to cope financially, and striving to be the best mother she could be. Over the past two years, joining Bigs & Littles has meant Martha’s family was slowly growing. Dilim, Martha’s Bigs & Littles Social Worker, got to know her well – her strengths, her needs, and her aspirations, and soon became a close sounding board and trusted resource. 

Martha’s son Kevy, a bright, fun loving boy, was struggling to focus in school, given a diagnosis that made learning difficult. With the help of Bigs & Littles NYC, Martha advocated for Kevy to move to a school that offered a smaller class size and a more conducive learning environment; where he is now thriving. Dilim found Kevy an amazing Big Brother, George. Since being matched with his mentor, Kevy has had the opportunity to try new things, like exploring different cuisines, and seeing the view of the city skyline for the first time when they visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. With George now a part of their family, Kevy has made tremendous strides socially, emotionally and academically. 

As Kevy began to flourish, his mom felt inspired to grow as well. She knew that she too would benefit from some extra support and soon enrolled in our newly launched Mentoring Moms Program, and Martha’s family grew to include her own caring volunteer mentor, Kate, whois helping her reach her life goals. 

“Kate has been such an amazing support system for me. Without her I would not have been able to prioritize taking care of myself. She holds me accountable. She is always there to give me advice and encouragement. I feel comfortable talking to her about anything.”

Martha sought out a new job and is now also enrolled in a GED/college program, determined to obtain her Associates degree in Paralegal Studies. Dilim connected Martha to a community resource for professional clothing and interviewing tips, and Martha has attended several Bigs & Littles NYC workshops on career development, healthy relationships and self-care. Thanks to Kate, Martha’s family has grown even stronger.