First Lady Mary Pat Christie names her third NJ Hero of 2011
Today I announced the third NJ Hero of 2011, Matthew Cortland. Matt is an incredibly impressive senior at Rutgers University and a member of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity. He is being recognized as a NJ Hero for the work he has done, and continues to do, for the autism community. Matt started Bros UniteD, or B.U.D., which is a mentoring program for teenage boys with autism. Forty brothers from the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity are mentors to 13 "little brothers" with autism. The program teaches the boys a sense or brotherhood and gives them the opportunity to "hang out" with guys close to their own age. It is an 8 week program. The brothers get together every Sunday to do things like ice skating, basketball, scavenger hunts, and various other fun activities.
Today we gathered everyone at The Rutgers Zone, a new arcade on Livingston Campus, to announce Matt as a hero. It was amazing to see how well the big and little brothers got along and how much they really enjoyed each others company. I overheard one of the "big brothers" saying that the program isn't just to mentor their little brothers, but that the big brothers got just as much out of the program as the little brothers do. This program is shaping the lives of everyone involved with it, which is why it is so rewarding. I want to congratulate Matt Cortland on being named a NJ Hero and I want to wish Alex Lewis all the best, as he carries the B.U.D. torch after Matt graduates this year. He is an honorary NJ Hero. And thank you to the members of Theta Delta Chi for being involved in such a great program. For more information on Bros UniteD, visit their website: http://www.brosunited.com/