AUBURN — The Child Health Center has recognized Gary Richards as the 2009 Androscoggin County Big Brother of the Year. At the annual Big Brother Big Sister dinner, Richards was recognition for his dedication to the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program and his Little Brother Barry, with whom he has been matched for four and a half years.

Richards said after his wife, Crigen, and he raised their two boys, he decided he wanted to make a difference in another boy’s life.

At the time Crigen was tutoring a young boy named Barry who wanted a Big Brother. Crigen saw the benefit Barry was reaping from their time together and soon Richards and he were matched as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based mentoring program. 

The two have shared a lot of fun together as well as some difficult times, but Barry says his big brother was always there for him no matter what. Barry said, “I would like to say thanks to Gary and his wife for helping me with my school work. I want to tell Gary thanks for everything you have done and for being a good friend. I know I can go to you two and talk to you any time I need to.”

Diane Blanchard, Child Health Center coordinator for the community-based program, said, “In addition to his dedication to his Little Brother, Gary has also served on the Big Brothers Big Sisters Advisory Board … and raised a lot of money for our Bowl For Kids’ Sake fundraising event this year. We all appreciate his enthusiasm and support of the program.”

The Child Health Center’s community-based Big Brothers Big Sisters program matches adults with young people age 8 to 13. Big Brothers and Big Sisters are volunteers who agree to spend at least six hours a month with their Little. Those  interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister should call 782-5437.

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