October 7, 2002

Big Brothers, Sisters Host Local Youth

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In conjunction with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, the brothers of Sigma Nu and the sisters of Delta Gamma accompanied 63 children to Saturday’s Cornell vs. Towson football game at Schoellkopf Field.

This event was part of an ongoing program, called Big Brothers and Big Sisters, run by the Cornell Club and the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Organizers paired each child, ages six through 14, with a fraternity or sorority member for the afternoon and provided the children with t-shirts and brown bag lunches prepared by the fraternity and sorority.

After the game, the children rushed the field and met with Cornell football players to have their t-shirts autographed.

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters program provides children with mentoring and friendship from adult role models, according to Katie Foley, Ithaca Youth Bureau’s outreach program leader.

The participants at Saturday’s event consisted of children from several campus and community service groups including Greater Ithaca Activity Center (GIAC), Big Red Readers and Ithaca Youth Bureau.

Eric R. Jones ’04, philanthropy chair for Sigma Nu and a cast member of this season’s “Road Rules” on MTV, helped involve his fraternity with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program and organized the event in partnership with Delta Gamma.

Seven brothers of Sigma Nu who are on the Cornell football team had recently become involved with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program, according to Jones.

“The program is an opportunity for kids to have a good time and to have someone to look up to at the same time,” Jones said.

The event was part of Delta Gamma’s annual retreat, according to Alison Gemberling ’04, vice president of foundations for Delta Gamma.

“In addition to bridging the two houses, we also got to help out the community,” Gemberling said.

Saturday’s football game outing was part of the Ithaca Youth Bureau’s program that coordinates activities for kids to meet with mentors. The mentors from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program provide one-on-one attention for children every Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ithaca Youth Bureau, which is near Stewart Park, according to Foley. Activities include making arts and crafts, playing sports and games, eating food and traveling on field trips.

Foley said that Cornell has an important relationship with the youth bureau’s programs and that it is a relationship that the two groups can continue to build through these Saturday activities.

Since many of the children in the program come from single-parent families, it is important for the children to have additional role models, according to Edward Pettitt ’05, president of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Cornell Club.

“The program is a way for children to have positive role models and to foster relationships with Ivy League students,” Pettitt said. “Our purpose is to enable the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County to provide every eligible child in Tompkins County with a Big Brother or Big Sister,” Pettitt said.

He added that the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program allows Cornell students to volunteer in the Ithaca community. Upcoming events include scarecrow building, a midnight basketball tournament and the annual Bowl-for-Kids-Sake Bowl-a-Thon, Pettitt said.

Archived article by Janet Liao