Los Alamos County Fire Station 1 Firefighter Bigs with their Aspen Elementary School student Littles. Courtesy photo
Little Issac Martinez-Rodriguez tries on a firefighter helmet. Courtesy photo
The fire truck pulls up outside the school. There is a crisis inside: not one that can be resolved by spreading water, but rather care and love.
“It is easy to underestimate the positive impacts one can make in a child’s life, because the seeds we sow today, don’t always produce fruit immediately,” Los Alamos firefighter David Apodaca said.
Apodaca and eight other Los Alamos firefighters are mentoring young kids as part of a Big Brothers Big Sisters, BBBS, program called Bigs with Badges. Each week they meet with kids, ages five through 10, during lunchtime and recess and offer themselves as consistent and positive male role models.
“Firefighters got into this profession because we care about people and want to be a positive presence in people’s lives,” LAFD Firefighter Danny McBride said. “It’s fun to show up at the school and hang out with a kid who is over the moon that you’re there for them. I can’t help but smile when I see his excitement. Usually firemen see people on their worst days, at their lowest moments; it’s a pleasant departure to be a high point in a day for a child.”
Firefighters are defenders by nature. BBBS believes that every child can change the world, and it is our job, together with volunteers and donors, to defend their full potential. Bigs, through their friendship, guidance and inspiration are changing the lives of the young boys and girls, known as BBBS Littles.
“I wanted to have a positive impact on the community we serve aside from running emergency calls … to be a positive role model to kids and shed a positive light on our department,” LAFD driver/engineer and paramedic Adam Martinez said. “I believe that we can positively influence these kids and make a lasting impression on them, and vice versa.”
Firefighter Adam Martinez and his Little Kamryn Ellis. Courtesy photo
Firefighter Danny McBride playing a game of chess with his little Nate Renner. Courtesy photo