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Rob Vogel ’13 never had a big brother. But he wished he did.

“I didn’t have that big brother to show me the ropes in certain things,” Vogel said, who is the oldest brother in his family. “I feel like that’s [maybe] a sentiment a lot of people have who don’t have big brothers: it’s like certain things could have been much easier to learn if I had a big brother teaching me.”

Now Vogel, the FUSA vice president, has started a new program that will give others the big brother he always wanted.

Fairfield BIGS, a new club at Fairfield University, is looking for students to become mentors to local underprivileged students whose parents might not be able to spend a lot of time with them.

The program, which is run in collaboration with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut, will pair Fairfield University students-bigs-with a student between around 8 to 13 years old to mentor. Children from Fairfield, Stratford and Bridgeport will participate in the program.

The bigs will help students do simple things like bake, “things Fairfield U students had and maybe take for granted a little as part of their childhood,” Vogel said.

And that’s the kind of thing that really helps students, according to Tori Rovegno ‘12.

Rovegno, who helped form the club with Vogel and three of his house-mates, did one-on-one tutoring with students in Bridgeport. She said that she didn’t just help students with homework.

“I got to make a difference just by being a friend, [giving them] someone to talk to,” Rovegno said.

Vogel said that student mentors can also make an impact by introducing their students to the possibility of seeking higher education.

“A lot of these children don’t have a picture of college,” Vogel said. “The bigs will have a huge opportunity to really paint a picture of college and really inspire and motivate these children to be going to college someday.”

Vogel is currently looking for students to make a long-term commitment to the organization.

“We’re not going to spoil them for a week and be gone,” he said.

So far Vogel and Rovegno have seen a lot of interest in the group. Approximately 40 students showed up to their first informational meeting even though the group didn’t have much time to advertise.

“It was a huge turnout, for all things considered,” Rovegno said.

Vogel said that students interested in the program should attend a BIGS meeting. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Connecticut will then interview them to match them up with a student to mentor.

If the experience of mentoring a student seems daunting, Rovegno said that even simple friendship can mean a lot to the kids.

“I’ve worked with kids in Bridgeport. Before you go into it, it’s a little overwhelming like…’what am I going to do that has such a profound impact on this kid’s life,’ but through the process you kind of realize that just by being their friend… that can have a difference,” said Rovegno.

Starting tomorrow people will be able to pick up an application and sign up for an interest interview time slot  in BCC212. Interview times are currently available for Tuesday the 15th from 6-8 p.m. If you can’t make one of the times, please e-mail Rob Vogel.  Fairfield BIGS is affiliated with the Build-a-House program and will be involved with the Community Service Alliance (CSA) as well.

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2 Responses

  1. self development

    this is a good step of awakening people about their extra activities. this will really inspire people. so keep up the good work and let people know about events like this.


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