CSMMD/Sacred Circle attended Black and Latino Male Summit

scaled.photoByron K. Oden-Shabazz took 2 mentees from the Sacred Circle Mentorship Organization to University of Illinois for a one-day conference. They discussed Black and Latino communal responsibility and how they can work together to help more students at our respective institutions and back home in our communities.  The mentees are Jeremy Clack and Thurgood Brooks. 


From Social Work to Social FUN!

When I was given the opportunity to be part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, I was ready to start an amazing journey. I always knew that I wanted to help other people, but helping children was something really special to me.  When I see a child or young adult struggle, I want to change their life for the better, and that means a lot to me.  Some do not have all the opportunities that others have, and I want to change that.  When I first met Ethen, I was really nervous because I wanted him to like me, but seeing that he was so excited to see me every week at the school really made me feel good about what I was doing. Ethen and I would eat lunch together and then we would go to recess. When we ate lunch together we would catch up with anything that had happened in his life since my last visit.  Next came recess, I felt like I was in grade school again because I would play games with him, but mostly it was watching him interact with his friends. I had a lot of fun with the time I got to spend with Ethen and I would never trade that for the world.  Recently, this semester however Ethen had to move away and I have been matched with a new little sister.  I cannot wait to begin a new chapter in my social work career.

Vanessa Arteaga is a junior in the Social Work Department.

The type of relationship that Vanessa has described with her previous Little Ethen is one that was developed through the Big Brothers Big Sisters School-Based PLUS program. During the school year (no meetings over the breaks), the School-Based PLUS program allows for volunteers to spend time with their Little Brother or Sister during the lunch/recess time at the school once per week, and allows the volunteer to drive their Little to and from Big Brothers Big Sisters events and activities. Volunteers get to have fun and socialize with their Little, while directly making a positive impact in that child’s life. The other, more traditional, mentoring program that Big Brothers Big Sisters offers is the Community-Based program. Through this program the volunteer commits to 8 hours per month with their Little, doing anything they like. This program allows more time and greater variety of activities for the volunteer and their Little to explore common interests and develop a strong relationship. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Warren and McDonough Counties currently has 50 Big/Little matches, however, we are always looking for caring and dependable volunteers! If you are interested in becoming a Big, and making a difference in a child’s life, please contact Pete Tarantola via phone or e-mail:

Pete Tarantola

Program Director

E-Mail: ptarantola@bbbs-mv.org

Phone: (309) 837-5437

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