GLOUCESTER TWP, NJ (CBS) — A group of Camden County middle school students took a field trip to meet up with their adult mentors at the Gloucester Township municipal building. It’s part of a larger effort by Big Brothers Big Sisters in the region called “Beyond School Walls.”
Seventeen pairs of “bigs” and “littles” shared lunch and a few stories. The kids from the Glen Landing Middle School. The adults, from within municipal government, including Gloucester Township Mayor David Mayer.
“I know that this has been done in the corporate world perhaps and in the private sector,” Mayer told KYW Newsradio, “but to my knowledge we’re the first municipality to do this.”
He gets together every other week with 11-year-old Makai Warner.
“I’m learning how to become a better man as I grow up and also how to deal with things and, like, how to cope with different things,” Warner said.
By the way, Makai wants to get into real estate.
The program, started by Big Brothers Big Sisters more than a decade ago, has spread nationwide, although this is the first South Jersey governmental entity to participate according to CEO Marcus Allen.
“I think it’s important for our kids to understand like how the sausage is made, what happens with policy and how those policies affect them in their everyday life,” Allen said.
He added that his group’s research has shown youthful participants grow up to be more successful and productive members of society, while the adults are able to take part while preserving free time to be with their own families.