Patrick Wildes has been a mentor with Big Brothers Bigs Sisters of the Capital Region for several years.

“One-to-one mentoring is something I always wanted,” Wilde said.

Since October 2017, he has been paired up with Romaillow Conyers.

“Exploring new things that I haven’t been to, like hikes and exploring the wild,” Conyers said.

“If it’s any sort of water sport, you name it, I can’t let him show me up, so we end up doing everything together,” Wildes said.

The pair say through these activities and commonalities, they’ve developed a strong bond. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they haven’t been able to meet up in person.

“We recognize we’re providing resources that not just the littles need, but their families needs, their community needs,” said Lea Montalto-Rook, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

She says New York on pause has been challenging. But they’re trying to keep their program going by having bigs and littles meet virtually.

“Meeting with them over the phone, or by video chat, or even by mail,” Montalto-Rook said.

Wildes and Conyers have been staying in contact via FaceTime. It has also allowed them to continue competing with each other through phone games like pool, mini-golf, and chess.

“It’s a tough game to teach electronically but we’re making an effort,” Wildes said.

“Yeah I’m starting to learn a little better,” Conyers said.

With school not in session and children spending the majority of their day at home, Montalto-Rook says it’s important to continue having a positive mentor to guide them. That’s what keeps Wildes continue doing what he does.

“It kind of allows us to shed light on the power of mentoring, and what two folks from maybe different backgrounds can share in common and both grow together,” Wildes said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters say they are always looking for volunteers. Anyone interested can visit for more information.