Ellie Shilling ’21, reaches out to the Franklin County Big Brother Big Sister community with care packages.

This summer 25 students were accepted in the CSGC grants program. These grants are funded due to the generous support of the Cost, Earle/Mendillo and Workman families, who established endowment funds to support the community and public service endeavors of future generations of Deerfield students. For more information on these grants please visit: https://deerfield.edu/csgc/grants.

At the beginning of the school year, I signed up to be a “big” for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program that works with Deerfield Academy. After all of the rounds of interviews and informational sessions, I had built up a lot of excitement for the famed “match meeting”. I sat in the Parker Room with a picture of a tiger that my “little” was supposed to recognize, first joining us as big and little. To my surprise, an hour passed and there was no sign of my little. I watched as other big/ little pairs hugged and started their relationships as I sat there waiting. I began to worry. Later that week, I received news that I wouldn’t get to meet my little until the new year.

Flash forward to March. Even after a few meetings, I began to see our relationship flourish. I watched her overcome obstacles and learned about her home life. So, when I said goodbye to her on the last Friday before March break, I told her that we had just two weeks until we saw each other again. Little did I know that I would not be able to follow through on this promise. When everyone was sent home and our world all of the sudden was in crisis, I found myself thinking about her. I thought about all of the littles. I knew that they were spending more time at home, and that all across America families were struggling. I wanted to reach these kids, but I didn’t know how.

After careful consideration and discussion with the BB BS of Franklin County Program Supervisor, Becky Hanna, I decided that I would create care packages with all of the materials and instructions to make several interactive crafts. I began by finding crafts that would be suitable for the kids in the program, then ordering all of the materials that were needed for each craft. I was able to package each craft box with the materials for five crafts for 144 kids, (more than involved in all of the Franklin County programs) which I then delivered to Becky in Greenfield. They are currently deciding the best way to get these packages to the families. I hope to learn more and update my blog post when they are able to deliver the packages to the families so that I understand the impact that they had.

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