May 11, 2021

On International Mentoring Day, Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates their longest standing match of 10 years

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16TH January 2019 George Town – Tomorrow, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of the Cayman Islands is celebrating one of its successes; Cayman’s longest standing match- one that is 10 years old and counting, between Gerardo Ochoa-Vargas and Alex Richardson.

Camana Bay

Matched in March 2009 Gerado and Alex, initially found they lacked shared interests; fast forward 10 years and they have become brothers and life-long friends. “Alex is much more sporty and active and I have always liked science and books,” said Big Brother Gerardo. “But that is also what I have enjoyed the most about our time together – the challenge of getting out of my comfort zone to achieve something worthy and entertaining, and at times formative, for this youngster” he continued.

“Gerardo and Alex’s relationship has changed with time as Alex evolved from young boy through adolescence and then into a young man” said Pilar Bush, BBBS Chairman of the Board. “Gerardo has been a consistent figure providing a positive force in Alex’s life. They weathered many of life’s storms together and celebrated the successes together. Alex and Gerardo started out as a mentor and mentee and today are as close as brothers with a bond strong enough to last a life time” she added.

Over the years, Alex and Gerardo’s outdoor adventures have taken them to Mr. Willie’s Pond in North Side where they took a stunning photo which the Cayman Compass featured on the front page; to snorkeling out to the Kittiwake; shooting amateur horror movies in abandoned buildings and skating at the Black Pearl Skate park. Gerardo even became Alex’s stylist for his high school prom. “Once Alex turned 18 they technically ‘age out of the BBBS programme” and the match is no longer formally monitored, but they are part of our BBBS family and regularly come out to our events, speak to groups and share their amazing story” Ms. Bush noted.

Founded in New York in 1904 and operating in 13 countries BBBS was brought to the Cayman Islands by the vision of Pastor Stanwyck Myles and the Lions Club of Grand Cayman in the early 1990s, formalizing what was then an informal community mentoring programme. Recognized as the world’s leading youth mentoring organization, it has been independently assessed to deliver positive, measurable youth outcomes . Children and adolescents involved in a regular mentoring programme over 18 months were found to be more confident, more engaged at school, have better relationships with peers and adults and more likely to reduce or avoid risky behavior like alcohol or drug use. In turn, these young people are:

52% less likely to skip school
55% more likely to pursue higher education
78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities
More than twice as likely to say they held a leadership position in a club or sports team
33% less likely to resort to violent behavior

In January, BBBS Cayman is bringing a sharper focus to the power of mentoring to help children achieve their full potential, despite adverse circumstances. Caring adults in the local community are invited to take up the mentoring challenge and get involved with BBBS. In as little as one hour a week, you can positively change a child’s life forever.

There are 3 ways you can get involved
• Community Based Mentoring: 1 to 1 mentoring, usually on weekends
• School Based Mentoring: 1 to 1, after school and takes place at school as part of the after school programme
• Group Mentoring: 2 mentors to 8 children, at a particular school or community site.

BBBS has an urgent need for men to get involved – they have 19 boys, aged 6-14 who have been waiting for a Big Brother, some for as long as 2 years.

To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and how you can get involved visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters website www.bbbs.ky or contact them on email [email protected] or via Facebook and Instagram @bbbscayman.

Camana Bay are showing their support for mentoring month and BBBS by turning the Town Centre lights purple tomorrow for International Mentoring Day.

Join the conversation and view all #mentoringmonth content on Facebook and Instagram @bbbscayman.

ABOUT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS
Our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-on-one relationships that change lives for better, forever.
For more than a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters worldwide has been helping change kids’ perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. Globally we have more than a century’s worth of volunteers, donors, and advocates to thank.
In the early 1990s, under the leadership of Pastor Stanwyck Myles a group of concerned residents had been organized and were providing mentoring to children and teenagers.
In 1995, with the help of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman, Big Brothers Big Sisters was formally incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
We support children who are at risk of not achieving the basic knowledge, skills and competencies to access the opportunities necessary to realize their potential and become productive adults.
At risk can be contextual – individually at risk of not achieving their potential, the family environment puts them at risk or the immediate community does.


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