St. Charles Office
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BB Vince Continues to Be Theresm for Little Brother Darryl
When Little Brother Darryl met his Big Brother Vince for the first time, the then 7-year-old said the tall and imposing figure was a little scary. But as the pair started playing a get to know each other game, the insightful Little Brother shared, “I found out he’s really a big softy.” As Darryl glanced at his Big Brother, he quickly added, “I couldn’t have gotten a better match.”
It was Vince’s “soft” nature that inspired him to become a volunteer mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri (BBBSEMO) a little more than six years ago. “I was in church and a presentation was made about the Amachi program that really touched me and pulled on my heart,” the caring Big Brother reflected. “So I followed up on it and applied.”
Amachi Missouri is a BBBSEMO initiative that was created to serve at-risk children of current and former prisoners, who research suggests are at a higher risk of entering the corrections system themselves. Through Amachi Missouri, BBBSEMO partners with four Big Brothers Big Sisters affiliates throughout the state, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Corrections, to match children of incarcerated parents with volunteer mentors.
Darryl’s mother is incarcerated and his father is deceased. Darryl and his sister live with their grandmother, Janeen. Both children were enrolled in Amachi Missouri by their mother and Janeen is grateful for the support and encouragement that the program provides. “It is really nice to know that Vince is there,” Janeen said, adding, “Darryl has a positive male role model in his life and someone he can look up to.” Kids are sponges, soaking up what they see and experience, the thoughtful caretaker continued. Janeen hopes that by being around Vince, who is successful both professionally and personally, Darryl will learn the value of hard work and healthy relationships. “And the guy is just so fun,” she added.
The fun component of the friends’ relationship is evident as they laugh and recount some of the activities they have enjoyed over the years. Bottom line is they enjoy each other’s company and make an effort to get together at least two to three times a month. “He’s like another family member. He’s my best friend,” the proud Little Brother asserted. Vince’s view of his Little Brother is equally as affirming. “When I look at the challenges he has been through, I’m almost shocked at how he’s on his feet. He is a role model of what a kid can be – he’s generous, intelligent and just very resilient.”
St. Charles Celebrates Summer with Picnic in O'Fallon
The St. Charles office kicked off summer with food and fun at Dames Park in O'Fallon. Roughly 60 people - which included Bigs, Littles and their families - joined St. Charles staffers Jennifer Stenger and Ginny King for the afternoon's festivities. And, according to the party planners, everyone had a great time. One of the biggest events yet, the O'Fallon picnic included a host of creative activities including tie-dying T-shirts; painting sun catchers; competing at bean bags, ladder golf and washers; and playing on the playground.
Jennifer's husband, Adam, was the grill master for the afternoon meal. Adam cooked 80 hotdogs to perfection and Big Brothers and Big Sisters brought side dishes to share. Can you say fun?