Big Brothers & Sisters Make a Difference

A good role model can make a world of a difference in the life of a young boy or girl. Whether you act as a mentor or just a good friend, every child could use a little help. Hundreds of kids aren’t lucky enough to have someone to look up to, or even someone to make them feel significant. Most of these children come from single-parent homes, where the parent simply doesn’t have enough time to take their children to the beach or shopping at the mall.

Big Brother Big Sister

That’s where the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of Child & Family Services in New Bedford can help out. This program helps connect children in need with a friendly “Big” to lend a hand. The time spent between Bigs and Littles isn’t just playing in the park or watching a movie. It’s a message to the child that they are important, even if it doesn’t seem like it at times. Many children don’t know anything outside their own homes, so a different perspective can make a big impact. Whether it means they graduate high school, college, or even land their dream job, the time spent with their Big helps them realize their potential and shoot for the stars!

Littles typically range from ages 7-14 and come from all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds. Even with the success of this program, there are still many kids on a waiting list for their own Big Brother or Big Sister. You only need to be over the age of 17 with a driver’s license to join Big Brothers Big Sisters, and you could be a friend for a lonely youngster. If you’re interested in becoming a Big, you can call Child & Family Services’ Outreach Office at (508) 990-0894, or apply on their website.

The idea behind Big Brothers Big Sisters isn’t to replace the parent or guardian, but to simply be their buddy and listen to them, and give advice when they need it. You don’t need to be the world’s greatest humanitarian to change lives. If your Little only takes away the fact that they could be anything they want, you’re job is done. Every child matters, so help make a difference in your community and become a Big Brother or Big Sister.

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Sharing the Harvest Community Farm

Since 2006, the backyard of the Dartmouth YMCA has been home to a beautiful community farm, growing a variety of fruits and vegetables for their Sharing the Harvest Community Farm project. This non-profit program was established by the Dartmouth YMCA, the United Way of Greater New Bedford, and the Hunger Commission of Shoutheastern Massachusetts.Dartmouth YMCA

Sharing the Harvest runs off the efforts of volunteers from the community to care for, grow, and harvest crops to help fight hunger in our towns and cities. All produce from the farm is donated to local food pantries in the area, with the cities of New Bedford and Fall River being the focus with some of the highest rates of hunger in Massachusetts. Sharing the Harvest program supplies thousands of pounds in fruits and vegetables each year, with around 43,000 pounds donated in 2012 alone. This year’s goal will be another 50,000 pounds, but this can’t be achieved alone.

Sharing the Harvest YMCA

As the farm continues to expand, more and more volunteers are needed to help in a variety of different jobs around the facility. As a volunteer, you will work with people from the community to plant, transplant, cultivate, harvest, and wash all fruits and vegetables grown at the farm throughout the year. The farm grows a number of different crops like radish, eggplant, carrots, berries, apples, and pears. The work of a volunteer depends on the daily plan of activities on the farm. This can vary based on the time of year, weather, and what generally needs to get done on the farm.

If you’re interested in working with Sharing the Harvest, you can contact them through their website, ymcasouthcoast.org, or just stop by Monday-Wednesday 9 AM to 12 PM and 2 PM to 5 PM, or Saturday 9 AM to 12 PM. Bring some old clothes to wear and be ready to learn and have fun while helping the community! People of all ages and abilities can help, and a day at the farm makes for a great educational field trip. Without the efforts of volunteers, there would be no farm, so help feed your community and have a blast playing in the dirt at the same time!

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