Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hampden Co. is changing young li - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

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Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Hampden Co. is changing young lives

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

One person is all it takes sometimes to change a life. 

The Big Brother and Big Sisters program of Hampden County is completely dedicated to doing that, matching young children and adults to create lifelong friendships.

They are everyday people connecting with their community, which is why Western Mass News and PeoplesBank is introducing you to one man who has changed several lives in the program.

Meet Steven Woody, who is affectionately known to friends as 'Woody'. 

"He's everything we look for.  He just does normal everyday things.  He goes and takes his little brother out and has fun and that's all we really ask," said David Beturne, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Right now, Woody is doing that with his new 10-year-old brother.

"Trey..we've been together six months.  We are in the learning stages right now, but we've been to golf and go-carting," Woody explained.

However, what makes Woody special from the rest is his longevity in the program. 

"[Is it common for someone to stay with their little brother that long.  I know you said it takes a year commitment but?]  No, not usually, but we do have several volunteers matched a long time.  You stay in the program until 18 and many people do stay connected after, but no, to stay as long as Woody has...that's unusual," Beturne explained.

Woody added, "My first little brother, Roberto, we were together seven years.  When he got married, he invited me to be in his wedding party.  He babysat for my daughter and he'll still come over and watch Monday night football and go to Red Sox games and hang out together." 

Now, Roberto is 35 years old and he's paying it forward by joining the program and taking on his own little brother too. 

However, for Woody, it's not about the recognition, It's about making an impact. 

"I just had some free time and I just thought there a lot of kids in need of a friend to do things with go to a movie whatever and I had some time, so I thought it might be nice to spend some time with them," Woody noted.

On top of a full time job at the post office for 40 years, Woody has dedicated decades to molding young boys into proud young men. 

"They learn some of my values, or hopefully good values for them. They learn how to stick with something and take responsibility for your deeds and stuff.  I know there is a long waiting list for boys looking for a match and the program is exceptional.  They are really looking for a friend and the Big Brother program is great.  They help a lot of people," Woody said.

If you'd like to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of Hampden County, you can sign up today and be part of their 50th anniversary year in 2017.  Their number is (413) 781-4734.

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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