Dorchester’s Daphne Lopes Represents Parents and Caregivers during Big Brothers Big Sisters of America ® Virtual Parent Advisory Panel
Last month, Daphne Lopes, a single mother living in Dorchester, represented parents and caregivers during Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s virtual Parent Advisory Panel. During the event, she spoke about her experience as a parent to a Little in BBBSEM.
Lopes became an active member of our community when she registered her son Aren, now 17, to be matched with his mentor Ryan in 2015 after learning he was being bullied at school. She recognized the importance of having a strong role model in Aren’s life for his future. Seven years later, the duo’s mentoring relationship is still going strong. Ryan has become a valued member of their family.
During this time, Lopes has served as an active spokesperson for our agency. She often appears in training series for both parents and Bigs. She has served as a keynote speaker at our annual fundraisers. Most recently, she shared her story as part of our volunteer recruitment efforts in the fall of 2021. Since 2021, Lopes has served on our organization’s Constituent Advisory Board (CAB). Established in 2019, CAB incorporates the full spectrum of perspectives in the agency’s strategic planning and critical decision making. The group is comprised of current and alumni mentors, mentees, guardians, and Board of Director members.
“BBBSEM and the relationship that Aren has with his Big Brother Ryan has changed all of our lives tremendously”, says Lopes. Aren has transitioned from being bullied to becoming a youth leader and Community Youth Board member who is now advocating for others. “I’m forever grateful that BBBSEM understands the importance in continuing these relationships during the pandemic. It has taken a mental health toll on our youth so continuing to make matches is vitally important.”
With research and proven outcomes at its core, we create matches based on shared interests, geography and personality and serve as a consistent resource for Bigs, Littles and their families. We act as a bridge between communities and community partners, helping to address larger social issues, such as race and education gaps.
Mentoring is one protective measure that adults can take to minimize risk factors, such as lack of motivation, anxiety, stress and isolation, that are threatening children’s mental health and academic success. A national study of 950 youth from eight Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies showed that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. Big Brothers Big Sisters’ matches consistently spend more time together, and continue as a match for longer periods, than those in other mentoring programs. Results also showed Bigs help Littles learn right from wrong, make better life choices, do better in school and advance to the next grade level.
“Daphne is a wonderful supporter and member of the BBBSEM family” says Mark O’Donnell, President and CEO of BBBSEM. “We are so grateful for her advocacy and passion for our mission and are thrilled she was able to share her experience at the recent Big Brothers Big Sisters of America webinar.”
Anyone can become a Big! We welcome youth and adults of all races, ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, genders, sexual orientations, and physical abilities. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older and be able to commit a few hours a few times a month for at least a year and have a passion for positively impacting a young person’s life.
In its 70th year, BBBSEM has created and served more than 20,000 matches. We are now enrolling and matching Littles and Bigs. For more information, to register your children or to become a volunteer, visit: www.emassbigs.org.