Mommy Minute: With long waiting list, Big Brothers Big Sisters needs your help


When John Maffey’s three children left the nest, Maffey was left with a desire to do something new, so he signed up to be a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

More than three years ago, Maffey was matched with Johannes Oveida, a student at Susquehanna Township High School.

“We go out to eat a lot. We spend a lot of time talking about life and school and girls and college,” Maffey said. “We do a lot of talk on the blocking and tackling of life, form a budget, learn how to drive, do your homework.”

“I like it because I have another person to talk to and another person to help me make decisions and everything,” Oveida said, adding that Maffey is now one of his closest friends.

Maffey has helped Oveida learn how to drive and has assisted him with applying for colleges.  Oveida’s mom says her son really needed a strong male role model.

“As long as the mentor is able to be there on a regular basis, that’s the key,” said Krystina Shultz of Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

Shultz said there are currently more than 200 kids like Oveida on the waiting list, hoping for mentors.  But to match them, the organization needs money and it needs volunteers.

“We especially need male mentors,” Shultz said. “We have more boys on our waiting list than we do girls.”

For the second year, Big Brother Big Sisters of the Capital Region is hosting Over the Edge, a fundraiser where participants raise money to rappel from a building in an urban environment. The event will take place Friday, October 19 at Market Square Plaza in downtown Harrisburg.

The goal of the fundraiser is to earn $100,000 to recruit and support mentors like Maffey.

“We all have a responsibility to help the next generation coming along and I think that everybody gets dealt the cards they get dealt in life, so if you can lend a hand in some way, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a way to do it,” Maffey said.

Oveida admits his “big brother” has changed him for the better.

“I started making more good, productive decisions based on how it was going to impact my future,” Oveida said.

“I hope this lasts for years to come,” Maffey said of their relationship, “that we can stay connected and with his family as well.”

Maffey is a fixture on the Susquehanna Township sidelines, cheering for Oveida at basketball games and track and field meets. And it’s been a family effort; Maffey’s wife has spent time with Oveida and Maffey communicates regularly with Oveida’s mom, which he says is the key to their success.

ABC27 “Daybreak” anchor Ali Lanyon is one of more than 70 people participating in the Over the Edge challenge. To help Big Brothers Big Sisters meet its fundraising goal, you can donate to Ali’s page by clicking here.

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