Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, though we may not know anyone who’s ever been involved with it.
That changed recently when we read in this newspaper about Robert McAdams, of Meriden, who at age 65 has been raising his three grandsons as a single granddad for several years — having first raised their fathers as a single dad.
McAdams receives no financial support for the boys, and his arthritis is making it difficult to keep up.
"I'm not out there running around playing basketball," he said.
But the job of raising the three lively grandsons got a little easier two months ago, when Big Brothers Big Sisters matched each of the boys — Jaden, 10, Shane, 8, and Devan, 7 — with an adult mentor: John Dahood, Ryan Milhomme (who had his own Big Brother as a child) and Jeff Dalrymple.
"It's rare that we're able to match siblings at the same time,” said Jackie Lundie, of the Nutmeg Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters. The three pairings in one family are a rarity, because there traditionally is a shortage of male mentors. “They seem to be one big family," she said.
Since 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been pursuing its mission to “provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.”
McAdams said he contacted the agency in the fall, and was surprised that they found three "fantastic guys."
"They are really a team, and that's what makes it work," Lundie said.
What also makes it work is the fact there are still people out there who are willing to give of themselves — and an agency that makes that possible.
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