Mayor, College President Welcome Big Brothers Big Sisters to Jersey City

Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy invited Saint Peter’s College President Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., to City Hall January 23, 2009, to a press conference welcoming Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) to Jersey City. In honor of the occasion, the mayor proclaimed January Mentoring Month. Saint Peter’s is the first college in the region to partner with BBBS, which is the oldest, largest and most effective organization of one-to-one mentoring for children in the United States.

“Since our founding in Jersey City 137 years ago,” Dr. Cornacchia said, “Our mission at Saint Peter’s College has been to follow the Jesuit philosophy of ‘Men and Women for Others’; so, we are ready, we are excited and we are proud to be the first college in our area to support Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

BBBS is in good company partnering with Saint Peter’s College, where more than 50 volunteer opportunities exist for students. Over the past year, more than 700 of Saint Peter’s students have contributed approximately 16,000 hours of service to various charitable causes.

Saint Peter’s College contributed the largest number of volunteers to mentor the children of Hudson County from any one institution – 44 students. Before becoming a big brother or big sister, the students are required to go through an interview and training process.

“After I submitted my application,” Michelle Conde, a freshman at Saint Peter’s, said. “I was interviewed by a Big Brother Big Sister representative so that I could be matched appropriately with my little brother or sister.”

Dr. Cornacchia said that the College is pleased to open its doors to help make college accessible for at-risk students. “A service initiative that is long-term and on-going is truly rewarding for both the mentor and the mentee,” he added.

Saint Peter’s alumnus Tom Basile ‘64, who has been a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters board since 1988, brokered the recently established volunteer partnership between Saint Peter’s College and BBBS.

“BBBS is the preeminent mentoring organization in the country, with an incredible system in place for matching, mentoring and monitoring,” Basile said. “Enrichment comes from seeing what a fine influence an adult can have on a young child. The possibilities are endless.”
In closing the press conference, Carlos Lejnieks, the BBBS’s president and CEO in Essex, Hudson, and Union counties, echoed everyone else’s remarks. “You don’t have to change your life to change the life of a young person for the better,” he stated enthusiastically.