Big Brothers Big Sisters of Manitowoc County has named Big Sister Jerilyn Dietz and Little Sister Jersey as its match of the month for February.
Each month, the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization selects a “match” for this recognition. The award is given in honor of the commitment the volunteer and child have made to each other and to the organization in developing a special friendship. This month Jerilyn and Jersey are going to be treated to free sandwiches courtesy of Subway.
Jerilyn is a circuit court judge in Manitowoc and a mom to two girls who are just a little younger than Jersey. She has previously served as President of the Board with Big Brothers Big Sisters and is active in the community with Felician Village and the Manitowoc County Youth Hockey Association. Jersey is in 5th grade this year and is really interested in computers. The pair has been matched for four years .
Jerilyn worked for a long time with the juvenile justice system and the child protective services system. She noted, “Some of the children I encountered had backgrounds that were utterly heartbreaking, and so many just needed one more reliable adult in their lives. I felt a strong need to get involved in a program that provides that reliable adult mentor, and joined the board of directors. It didn’t take long for me to feel an irresistible urge to become a Big, in the hope that I could be that positive support to a child.” Jersey got involved with the program when her mom signed her up in 2nd grade, and now she wants to encourage other kids to become a little too. Jersey said, “They should join because we have games, activities, coloring, and friendship bracelets.” Jerilyn and Jersey loved to play games together and find books they both enjoy. They are a school based match, so Jerilyn visits Jersey during the school day; the pair are planning to continue their match next year when Jersey goes to middle school.
The girls have grown a lot closer over their four years as a match. Some of their favorite things include playing Sorry in as many languages as they can come up with and Jerilyn loves to go to see Jersey in her school concerts. Jersey knows how much Jerilyn cares about her and notes that as the most important thing about their match. Jerilyn feels the same way and wants to help Jersey live her life to the greatest potential. She wants Jersey to know that she is an adult who believes in her and will never stop caring. Even though they were nervous about first meeting each other, the BBBS program has been such a positive experience for them both.
Jerilyn and Jersey want to encourage others to get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Jerilyn noted, “There is no downside. It’s a wonderful program that does so much good, and even the busiest of adults can take a lunch break once a week. I truly think I get more out of it than my Little most weeks.” The pair are a wonderful example of how such a meaningful relationship can grow out of this mentoring program. If you would like to learn more or get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, contact the Manitowoc agency at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 920-684-7445.