Giving Back

Pair Emphasizes the Importance of Being a Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentor

Left to right: Assemblyman Jamel Holley, Lilia Vasquez, Jesse Koblent, Carlos Padillo, his mom Dalila Robles, Mayor Bollwage, and Councilman Manny Grova. Credits: Fran Sullivan

ELIZABETH, NJ – It was a match made in heaven, everyone seemed to be saying Jan. 6 as Mayor Christian Bollwage and members of Big Brothers Big Sisters organization launched January as Mentoring Month in City Council Chambers.

The match in question is between 18-year-old Carlos Padillo and mentor Jessie Koblent who were paired by the Essex, Hudson, and Union chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Padillo, who was described as having a difficult childhood, will soon realize a life-long dream of joining the Army. “I couldn’t be more proud,” said Koblent. “I am an advocate for mentoring. It is a call to action.”

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The pair, who have been together for more than four years, seemed to have “Chemistry from the beginning,” said match support specialist Lilia Vasquez. “They are a prime example of what a match can do. Carlos has flourished and has decided to pay it forward by serving his country. He plans to be a Big Brother. It shows the importance and impact that the power of mentoring has on a child.”   

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a one-on-one mentoring program aimed at providing a healthy, strong role model for children and adolescents who are lacking one. “This is deeply important work,” said Carlos Lejnieks, Big Brothers Big Sisters president and CEO. “We need more bright lights in our community.”

Added chief Operations Officer Michele Williers, “I know that there are tons of Jesses and Carloses that need us. We need more Jesses to step up. We are determined to not stop until every child is mentored.”

For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit, or call 973-642-2447.

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