Adam Theroux, Robin Matusik, Timothy Rondeau and Kathleen Sprague to be honored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State as Mentors of the Year
Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State (BBBSOS) recognizes the hundreds of volunteers who demonstrate exceptional dedication to their mentee and to the organization at the BBBSOS Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. At the dinner, four awards are given to awardees who have made a significant impact in the life of their Little (mentee), as evidenced by improved academic performance, increased confidence, and avoidance of risky behaviors. The awardees are also highly engaged in the mission of BBBSOS, through the recruitment of volunteers, promotion of the organization in the community, and/or support of fundraising efforts.
2017’s awardees are:
•Community-Based Big Brother of the Year: Adam Theroux
•Community-Based Big Sister of the Year: Robin Matusik
•Site-Based Big Brother of the Year: Timothy Rondeau
•Site-Based Big Sister of the Year: Kathleen Sprague
All Big Brother Big Sister volunteers, as well as the “Bigs of the Year,” will be honored at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner held at the Shriners Imperial Room in Cranston on Thursday, April 27th. The event is being sponsored by Amgen, Inc. Executive Director, Katje Afonseca, notes, “The Volunteer Appreciation Dinner is one of my favorite BBBSOS events. There is nothing better than being in a room filled with people who give back because it is a good thing to do. Being surrounded by that kind of selfless energy is truly inspiring!”
Adam Theroux, of WPRI 12, has been named Community-Based Big Brother of the Year. Adam has been paired with his Little Brother, CJ, for 2 years. The two hit it off right away and are now the best of buds! They love to go out to eat “sticky chicken,” and CJ especially loves Adam’s cats. Adam was chosen for the impact he has made on CJ. The biggest change, according to CJ’s grandmother, is CJ has learned compassion and thoughtfulness from Adam. Adam is very thoughtful and often thinks of CJ’s sister as well as CJ. In turn, this has made CJ much more thoughtful and kind to both his grandmother and sister. CJ goes out of his way to take care of them, and is growing more and more responsible every day. In addition, Adam has supported the mission by hosting the 401 Film Fest, a local Film Festival raising over $3,000 for BBBSOS. Adam is also helping BBBSOS create promotional videos to support mentor recruitment efforts. Adam talks about Big Brothers Big Sisters often on social media and with friends. He is a true advocate for our organization and an outstanding Big Brother.
Robin Matusik, of Hasbro Toys, has been named Community-Based Big Sister of the Year. Robin first heard of BBBSOS through a co-worker and Big Sister, who talked of the fun she was having and the difference it was making in her life. Robin met her Little Sister, Angelina, in January of 2014 when Angelina was only eight years old. The two immediately connected. In the three years they have been paired, they have enjoyed numerous activities. Angelina states, “I love ice skating, going to hockey games, and Sky Zone.” They also enjoy scrapbooking, so they can save their memories. Angelina’s mom Cindy was very excited to hear that Robin won Big Sister of the Year. She agrees it is much deserved and could not have asked for a better Big Sister for her daughter. Mom loves how Robin teaches Angelina new things and how much Angelina looks up to her. Angelina states, “I like Robin’s personality and how nice she is to me. Robin has taught me so many things, like how to build a bookshelf from scratch.” Robin has also volunteered her time by speaking at Mentor Trainings, sharing her story with prospective mentors, and getting potential volunteers excited about mentoring.
Timothy Rondeau, of National Grid, has been named Site-Based Big Brother of the Year. Tim has been paired with his Little Brother, George, at the McAuley Villlage site for over a year. The two quickly formed a strong bond. They love to chat and build paper airplanes. Tim encourages George to think outside the box, talking to him about his dreams for the future and how he can work towards achieving them. Tim’s consistency and persistence has motivated George to work hard and helped him find confidence in reading. Tim has been extremely dedicated to being a mentor, and goes out of his way to send BBBSOS staff a video clip to share with George if there’s a day he cannot attend. Tim has been instrumental in implementing a Beyond School Walls program at National Grid, which allows 4th grade students from Sackett Elementary School to visit National Grid weekly and be mentored by National Grid staff, where they learn fun things, with a focus on physics, specifically energy.
Kathleen Sprague, of Amgen, Inc., has been named as our Site-Based Big Sister of the Year. Kathleen has been paired with her Little Sister, Morgan, at the Amgen Beyond School Walls site since November of 2015. Kathleen has, from the beginning, been very dedicated to her friendship with Morgan. Morgan has a voracious love of learning and science, and Kathleen, a former science teacher, is happy to provide her with extra activities and discussions that tie into Morgan’s interests and meet her need for knowledge. Kathleen has gone above and beyond as the point person for our Amgen Beyond School Walls Program, a program allowing students from Metcalf Elementary School to visit Amgen weekly and be mentored by Amgen staff while they learn fun, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) based experiments. Kathleen arranges for meeting space and storage for the program, and has recruited dozens of co-workers to become mentors. Kathleen attends BBBSOS events when she can and is always willing to speak passionately about the program to anyone who thinks they may want to become a mentor themselves. The Amgen Beyond School Walls program is very lucky to have a mentor like Kathleen!
BBBSOS provides mentors to the youth of Rhode Island who will motivate and empower them to make positive decisions, improve academic results, avoid risky behaviors and grow in a way that will positively impact our community. Over the last 51 years, the organization has grown from offering Community-Based/Traditional mentoring programs (1:1 mentoring in the community), to introducing Site Based Mentoring (pairs college students and working professionals with elementary and middle school students who may be in need of additional academic support or personal encouragement in a supervised group setting at a school or community site). BBBSOS relies on the time and talents of our incredible mentors who volunteer their time to help improve the lives of their Littles. As one mentor said "Mentoring keeps me young, it changes someone's life, and we get to share many life experiences.” The wait list for children who need a mentor continues to grow and volunteers are needed. It does not take a lot of time to make a “BIG” impact. To learn more about the role mentoring plays in our community and to learn how you can be involved, please visit www.bbbsos.org. or call 401-921-2434 ext. 101.