Dan Fortes is being honored as the Connecticut Outstanding Big Brother of the Year.
He’s been a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut for the last two years – since the organization connected him with Donte Cuttino, a 12 year-old now in the 6th grade.
It’s a relationship that has changed both of their lives for the better.
“I know it’s a crazy world today and I felt that if I could just impact one, one person, that it would be all worth it,” Fortes said in an interview with NBC Connecticut ahead of the Big Brothers Big Sisters awards set for May 19 in Hartford.
Fortes became part of Big Brothers Big Sisters when his adult son moved out and he realized he still had place in his heart and his life to help mold a young person.
“When my son moved out, I found myself with kind of a void in my life. I’ve always thought about Big Brothers, so I figured the time was right to do it,” said Fortes, a Manchester resident who works in automotive finance sales.
Little Brother Cuttino said he really enjoys having Dan around.
Cuttino, who hopes to become a Navy SEAL when he’s older, said he’s learned a lot about everything careers to fishing since connecting with his Big Brother.
“I like having him in my life because he’s like a dad to me and he’s really cool and does a lot of stuff for me,” Donte said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut program Vice President Ryan Matthews said he hopes the connection between Fortes and Cuttino can be an inspiration for other adults to sign on to join the organization and give their time to help shape the future of a young person.
“The only difference between him and anybody in the community not involved with us is time. If you have the same heart, if you have the same motivation, if you want to see your community and your state and your world get better, you can follow in Dan’s footsteps," Matthews said.
You can learn more about how to become involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut here.
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