For nearly 25 years, M&T Bank has partnered with Westminster Community Charter School to pair employees with students in a mentoring relationship. This program is still running strong, and BPN has now partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County to provide support for this essential program. These mentor relationships are proven to be a positive impact on the child and the volunteer.
Let’s meet one of the matches now! Sydney Godwin, the “Big,” is an analyst in the Compliance Risk department at M&T Bank. Ta’Naye Lemon, the “Little” is a 2nd grader at Westminster Community Charter School. They couldn’t be a more perfect pair! The two go on outings together at least twice per month, partaking in everything from bowling, to Build-a-Bear, to baking cookies together.
When Sydney speaks of Ta’Naye, her eyes light up and she will tell you how kind Ta’Naye is to her siblings. Ta’Naye often makes sure that she can bring things home to share with them when she and Sydney are on an outing together. In Sydney’s words, “Ta’Naye is so funny and sweet. And she’s full of energy, until we get in the car, and she falls asleep every time! She even asks how long the ride home is so she can catch a nap (her words!).”
Sydney’s favorite part of mentoring, is how excited Ta’Naye is to see her, introducing her to people as her “sister.” Ta’Naye even asked Sydney if they will still be “big sisters” when they’re old. Sydney also loves how wonderful Ta’Naye’s family is, and how they treat her with respect and trust. Ta’Naye has met Sydney’s entire family, and everyone just loves her. She has baked cookies with Sydney’s mom, learned to swim at Sydney’s grandmother’s house, and asks Sydney to put her spelling tests up on her refrigerator!
Sydney has loved the BPN Mentor Program, and considers it one of the best things she’s ever done. She feels like she’s just added people to her family, and that’s a lovely thought.