Alpha Phi Omega is giving Seton Hall students the opportunity to become mentors for Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization that pairs college students with underprivileged youth in their area.
About 40 students will go to Newark once a week to spend time with children at South Street Elementary School.
“We had wanted to start a Big Brother Big Sister program so I contacted the organization in Newark who is in charge of finding the bigs for children in need,” said Lianne Messina, junior and vice president of service for APO.
The information session for the program will be held on Tuesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. in Duffy Hall room 81. Students who attend will be able to hear the organization’s CEO, Carlos Lejnieks, speak .
After the session, students will be able to sign up for the interview process. APO members will also be tabling in the cafeteria during the days leading up to the event in an effort to raise student awareness of the opportunity.
“APO is just facilitating this opportunity. It is open, and we are really hoping to get interest from students outside of the organization,” Messina said.
Students chosen after the interview process will be required to make a year-long commitment to visit a child for one hour per week between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Students being mentored will range from kindergarten to eighth grade.
“You would just sit and talk with them, play games. We have access to the library and the gym,” Messina said. “We want to try to stay away from doing homework and focus on just really being there for the child.”
Students would be required to provide their own transportation, but the organization hopes to organize a carpool to allow students without transportation to participate.
“It is so crucial that students do not take for granted all they have been given in life. The best way to do this is to become a Big Brother or Big Sister for one hour a week to a child who may be lacking a good role model,” said Renee Giliberti, recruiter for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties.
Though this is the first year APO has reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters, they have done many other service projects on campus.
In the past, the Seton Hall APO chapter has also worked with organizations like Jersey Cares and Camp Acorn, a Saturday camp for kids with special needs.
“We basically do whatever we can to help others around us. We work with all different groups,” Messina said.
APO is a national, coed service fraternity based around the principals of friendship, leadership and service. The Seton Hall chapter currently has about 72 active members.
Alyana Alfaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.