The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 10, 2014

BBBS ‘fishing’ for new buddy program

FAIRMONT — A West Virginia agency has begun a new program geared toward the youth and the outdoors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Central West Virginia works to provide children with positive adult role models. Children and adults are matched by their preferences for what they like to do for fun.

Sylvia Hawkins, executive director for the NCWV program, said the new “Fishing Buddies” program is different from most of their programs.

“There is a slight amount of anxiousness when finding people for other programs,” she said. “In this program, we put together a person who likes to fish and a child who wants to fish.”

Hawkins said there is one requirement to be a part of this program.

“You need to like to fish,” she said.

The NCWV of Big Brothers Big Sisters office works by matching adults with similar interests as children, such as fishing, baking, hiking or watching movies. The Fishing Buddies program runs from April to September with the mentor and the child meeting to go fishing once or twice a month.

Hawkins brought up a mentor who has been working with one child for more than a year.

The mentor, Joe Pewdo, joined the program in January 2013 and began to mentor a child who also like the outdoors.

After moving to Pittsburgh, Pewdo continued to mentor his child and began to teach him how to fly fish.

“I hear him say ‘I got one,’” Pewdo said. “It was great. It was awesome. I (taught him) something and he was able to use it to catch a fish.”

While fishing with the child he is mentoring, Pewdo is able to pass on something he loves. Pewdo was fishing in Elkins with his “little brother” and was able to see him catch a fish.

“One of the most rewarding things as a fisherman is seeing someone catch a fish for the first time or seeing someone catch the biggest fish they've caught in a long time or ever,” Pewdo said. “Just the fact that you taught them fishing (and) you were able to help them do that.”

 “One of the main things is (the children) don't always have positive role models,” Hawkins said.

These role models can do a variety of things for children.

“You need to know that you have somebody that you can tell things to,” Hawkins said. “Sometimes they're silly or, sometimes, they're serious things. That adult person person in your life can make a difference with where you go from there.”

Big Brothers Big Sister of North Central West Virginia can be reached by phone at 304-983-2823 ext. 104 or online at www.bbbs-ncwv.org.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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