While there are a number of ways to pass your years here at Williams, not many things are more rewarding than the Big Sibs program, established by the Lehman Council for Community Service. The Big Sibs program at Williams is all about remembering where you came from, putting things in perspective, and taking the time to make a little difference.
Participants have to be willing to have some fun, and maybe revert back to the days of building forts and throwing water balloons. The broad aim of the program is to foster a unique, esteem-enhancing, one-to-one relationship between a child in the community and a Williams student. The mission is to provide consistent role models, through regular meetings and open lines of communication.
Coordinated in the Williamstown Public Elementary School by Wendy Powell, the program pairs up students from Williams with grade school kids who want and need an older friend. The level of the relationship is entirely up to the involved, but it is difficult not to take a sincere interest in the growth and maturation of any child you become close to.
Having had a little brother for over two years, I won’t hesitate to say it has been one of the best experiences of my life.
There’s nothing better than watching your little sib score in an after-school basketball game or sing a song in a school play. It makes you proud, and it makes the child’s world to see their Big Sister or Big Brother sitting in the audience.
For all involved, the experience is unique and fulfilling. Tim Sullivan ’01 is a big brother to eight-year-old Adam Gay, a second-grader at Williamstown Elementary.
“I bring him over to lunch at Driscoll, and we play wiffle ball in the Berkshire Quad. He also enjoys video games and playing dodgeball and football at his house. He’s fun spending time with, and I know it means a lot to him,” commented Sullivan.
Sophomore Lauren Siegel also treasures her time with her Little Sibling. “I’ve spent time with my Little Sister Sarah Turgeon every week for the past two years. I’ve become a lot closer to her and her family. I really like having a relationship with someone off campus, someone who isn’t 20 and taking classes.”
I am excited to receive my degree at graduation, but I will always look back on teaching my Little Brother how to throw a spiral football as one of my greatest college moments.
The Big Sibs program is a responsibility, but as scholars, leaders and individuals it is one that we must embrace. The rewards last for two lifetimes.
Marty West ’98 has been the student coordinator at Williams for the past two years, and the torch is being passed to Glen Prichett ’00 and Lindsay Renner ’99.
With over 100 Williams students currently participating in the Big Sibs program, its impact is strengthening each and every day. I believe that free time is rarely better spent. My only regret as a Big Brother is that I didn’t get involved earlier.