NEW YORK (PIX11) — During the COVID-19 pandemic, mentoring at Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City never stopped. At the time, they moved to digital platforms such as Zoom and FaceTime. But now there’s a need for more volunteers who can meet in person.

Brooklyn resident Claire Luceri, 27, recently met 18-year-old Bronx resident Jayla Saunders in person for the first time. Luceri and Saunders were matched by Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City six months ago. They’ve formed a special relationship that started virtually during the pandemic.

Saunders took part in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ college and career success program. She just started at LaGuardia Community College and needed help picking classes and was a little lonely.

Luceri was a perfect fit. She also felt lonely during the pandemic and wanted to give back. They met on Zoom and began a blossoming friendship that has changed both of their lives.  

Alicia Guevera is the first Black and Latina CEO and first female CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City in 118 years.  She said it’s easy to get involved in the program. 

To be a big brother or big sister, you have to be 21 years old, live in the five boroughs and be able to volunteer at least two weekends a month. There are more 2,500 young people who are paired with mentors across New York City. It’s a relationship that can last a lifetime.  

Right now, there is a waiting list that keeps growing for young people who need mentors. If you want to volunteer, learn more information on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City website.