AVON — The moment when Mitzi Barrett and her 13-year-old son, Ronier Barrett-Reed, remove a board game from a shelf, competitive energy fills the atmosphere of their home until a winner is declared.
Scrabble and Monopoly are the favorite board games in their household. During these games, mother and son have formed a special bond.
“I am very blessed,” Barrett said Friday. “We pal around and we just started going to the gym together. We also have an open dialog. I am very blessed with our relationship.”
The bond for Mitzi Barrett and her son is special because she is a single mom.
Yet for this Mother’s Day, Barrett has only one wish: that Ronier could have a male role model in his life.
Her wish may come true.
This weekend, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County is introducing “All She Wants for Mother’s Day,” an initiative highlighting mothers of more than 40 children, mostly boys, who are waiting to be matched. The organization is appealing for donations to help recruit, screen and carefully match more Bigs with Littles in monitored long-term mentoring friendships, said Lise Day, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County.
“The Mother’s Day Month campaign also includes a recruitment effort for male mentors, as two-thirds of the Littles who have been waiting the longest, sometimes for a year, for Bigs, are boys,” Day said.
Barrett said since her son is 13, she believes it is the ideal time for him to have a positive male role model in his life.
“It will help keep him on the straight and narrow,” Barrett said.
As a working mother, Barrett just recently noticed her son needs male guidance. “He is just getting into sports, and basketball is his passion. It would nice to have someone teach him the skills to help him be better,” she said. “Academically, he is doing well, but he got a little side-tracked.”
Barrett said her life revolves around work and taking care of her son, but said it would be nice to have a couple hours to herself once or twice a month.
Barrett also would rest easy knowing that the time her son spends away from her would make him a better person if he had a Big Brother.
“It would be a welcomed ‘me’ time,” she said.
Day sympathizes with all mothers.
“As a mother of two children and someone who speaks daily with mothers who seek our mentoring services, I understand in a real and very personal way what it is like for a mom to do everything she can to pave the way for her sons and daughters,” Day said. “By supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters in any way, you can give a mom a mentor for her child. It’s a gift with rewards proven by studies to help children improve in school, their behavior and their self-esteem — something that can change her child’s life for the better, forever.”
Barrett said her son is her best friend, but she is still his mom.
“He is affectionate and warm. He doesn’t just love me, he actually likes me,” she said.
LaGrange mom Rebecca Wojtko has seen the benefits of Big Brothers Big Sisters first-hand, and is a big supporter of the “All She Wants for Mother’s Day” program.
“My kids just ended their relationships with their Bigs,” she said.
Wojko said her 13-year-old son’s Big relocated out of state due to his job and her 16-year-old daughter is at the age when scheduling time to meet with her Big Sis became too difficult.
“The program has been a godsend for them,” Wojtko said. “With my daughter, we felt that we were taking away an awesome mentor for another kid because we had an awesome experience.”
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lorain County, visit www.bigloraincounty.org.