In August, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (BBBSLI) took the plunge to get kids in the swim of things at the Levittown Swim Association. Almost two dozen youngsters, or “Littles” as they're known in the organization, were given free swimming lessons with the help of their “Bigs” and the lifeguards on duty. One of those “Littles” was Sebatian Gibbons of Elmont, who was there with his “Big,” Tom Fazio, senior vice president of sales at credit-card processing company MerchantPro Express (MPX).
Although a bit nervous at first, Gibbons got the hang of it after some practice.
“I was scared. I was really scared. I was kind of terrified that I would drown,” the 10-year-old admits in the News 12 video above. “And now,” he continues, “I’m working on it. I’m not that scared and I’m doing pretty good.”
Fazio wasn't the only one who was proud to see Sebatian excel in the pool. The boy and his mom were both "absolutely ecstatic” with the young swimmer's progress. It was the first swimming lesson Gibbons ever had.
It’s breakthrough moments like these that validate the reason why Fazio has supported BBBSLI’s cause for so many years. Having known Mark Cox, the CEO and director of BBBSLI, for quite some time, Fazio officially became a “Big” in January, adding that it’s “a great way to give back.”
As Fazio points out, the BBBSLI organization, founded in 1977, is “built around the mentoring of a ‘Big’ and ‘Little.’ But there are also events for everyone.” These include sports, arts and crafts nights, and now, swim lessons.
The swim program consisted of three sessions, each an hour and a half long. Although this was the first time that BBBSLI had hosted this program, its success hints that it could become a yearly event.
More about the event was covered by the Levittown Tribune, also featuring Fazio and Gibbons.
A Rewarding Relationship
Fazio isn’t the only MPX staff member to be a part of BBBSLI. Greg Gordon, vice president of business development, has also been a volunteer at the organization since January.
“The main reason why I got involved is because I had such a great childhood growing up in a very close knit and supportive family,” Gordon says. “I felt it was important to try to give back to someone who may be dealing with more challenging circumstances.”
“Although I am the one that is volunteering, I feel that I am the one who is receiving a lot more back in return."
Gordon points out how much he appreciates the organization’s cause. He says that mentoring and supporting his “Little” has been beneficial for both of them because of the friendship they've formed.
“Although I am the one that is volunteering," Gordon says, "I feel that I am the one who is receiving a lot more back in return.”
He is grateful for all that BBBSLI has to offer.
“The people that work at Big Brothers and Big Sisters are remarkable people, and they create a very nurturing and rewarding experience for all involved,” Gordon says. “I feel privileged to be involved with such a wonderful organization.”
MPX is proud to be a recurring sponsor and support of BBBSLI. To learn more about the organization and how you can get involved, visit their official website.