Bigs and Littles program to add new members

Kaitlyn Coppolo

Villanova’s Bigs and Littles program adds 29 new Bigs to the program this year. The program functions much like a Big Brother program, matching a University student with a child from inner city Philadelphia. The students serve as role models and mentors to these children. The application process includes a written section and an interview. From a pool of 200 candidates, 45 reached the interview round, but only 29 will call themselves Bigs, joining the 55 Bigs from last spring who will rejoin the program this fall. Applications were due Sept. 7, and interviews took place the week of Sept. 11. Applicants will be notified next week. Sophomore Christine Wood decided to apply to Bigs and Littles for a simple reason. “My major is elementary education and I love volunteering and working with children,” she said. Wood made it to the interview round and now awaits the final decision. “I was nervous with the amount of spots open, but was excited to get called back for an interview and am anxious to find out the results,” she said. The University works with St. Charles Borromeo Church to coordinate the program, staying in constant communication with the church to accurately determine the Little count. The Bigs keep in touch with their Littles through weekly phone calls to reinforce the relationship with the child. The students also try to maintain a good relationship with the parents or guardians of the children by speaking with them weekly. Trust is imperative in this relationship, as the guardian must trust the student who cares for their child during the activities. Bigs and Littles organizes six outings a year. All outings start with a mass at St. Thomas of Villanova church. Bigs rank trick-or-treating in Stanford Hall among their favorite outings, along with the annual sleepover in which the Little spend the night in their Bigs’ dorms. Other activities last year involved a trip to the Franklin Institute, rollerskating and making gingerbread houses. Junior Brian Bozzo heads the organization with the help of six co-chairs. “If everyone works together, this program is going to reach a level it has never hit before,” Bozzo said. He hopes to increase their finances to improve the quality of outings. The organization plans to add another parish to increase the number of Littles. The first event of the year is on Oct. 2, and the Bigs say they eagerly anticipate the reunion. “I can’t wait to see my Little again,” junior Patty Wanandi said. “It’s a fun time for everyone who comes.”