Grieving Dad’s Loss; Fearing Mom will Die as Well; Teen Reaches Out to “Big Brother”

Posted on October 31, 2017 by Alice Kenny  |  Share

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"Providencia Vanderpool was reminiscing with her youngest son about his father when suddenly the boy’s words alarmed her, " writes New York Times reporter John Otis about a teen served by Catholic Charities NY affiliate Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers in this New York Times Neediest Case profile published today, October 31, 2017.

Her son, Noel, asked if she was starting to forget her husband, who died in 2014.

“I asked, ‘Why would you say that?’” Mrs. Vanderpool, 50, recalled recently. “He said, ‘Because you don’t talk about him every day.’ But I remember him every single day.”

….Mr. Vanderpool’s absence had an immediate impact on Noel’s behavior. He got in fights at school, one provoked by a classmate who had mocked him for praying that his father would return to life.

“His grades were terrible,” Mrs. Vanderpool said. “He started failing. He wasn’t paying attention. It was a struggle to send him to school…

He’s not a bad kid. He’s a good kid who had something terrible happen to him.”

…The family faced another setback last year when Mrs. Vanderpool learned she had kidney cancer. Doctors performed surgery to remove a tumor, and she spent three and a half months away from her job.

…In May, Noel, now 14, was matched with a big brother through Catholic Big Sisters & Big Brothers, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, one of the eight organizations supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. Enter Ben Green, from Dublin, who moved to New York City with his wife seven years ago.

A Catholic Charities NY affiliated agency, Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers provides comprehensive mentoring programs focused on strengthening a child's entire family. It trains volunteers to serve as friends and guides to young persons in need throughout New York City’s five boroughs.

“My thinking of it is just to give him another outlet to talk to someone else, if he wants,” Mr. Green, 35, said.

Catholic Charities NY gratefully acknowledges our century-long relationship with The New York Times Neediest Cases Campaign spotlighting the courage of people we are honored to serve.

Find out more about Catholic Charities free services for children and teens under Protecting & Nurturing Children & Youth

Read the rest of Noel Vanderpool’s profile in The New York Times




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