“He pummels me with questions on all sorts of subjects – war, history, government, religion, dating – and he’s done so from the first time we met,” said Matt, Edwin’s Big Brother. “At first, I thought he was just humoring me since I work at a university and have a doctorate. But I asked him about it recently and he said, “Matt, you don’t get it. I can’t talk about any of this stuff with anyone else.’”
For Edwin, his time with his Big Brother is like having his own personal instructor, teacher, and mentor, combined. So while Matt and Edwin might go canoeing or zip lining, or see any number of different things, it’s the one-on-one time they have discussing new ideas that they both cherish. “It’s Edwin’s time to ask any and every question he’s ever wanted, but never had the chance, to ask. Our time together is enriching,” Matt said, “because it shows Edwin that there’s a world of ideas and experiences beyond the one he knows.”
Their outings also show Edwin that someone is there for him. “We might go see a cave he’s never seen and he may learn about spelunking, but I think what he gains from the experience is much more,” Matt continued. “In the process, he learns that there’s someone who cares for him, who plans for him, who looks forward to seeing him, and who is there to remind him of other ways of looking at things.”
Exploring new things has allowed Edwin to develop a variety of interests, from street art, to reading, to writing extremely well. Having someone to talk to about these interests and about the different things he might do in these fields has also helped Edwin consider different vocational choices. He is now focused on going to college to pursue a degree in psychology, an area he would not have been aware of without input from his Big Brother. “Edwin has always been a peacemaker and a diplomat. He is someone who likes to be an intermediary and to fix things,” Matt acknowledged, “so psychology would be a good fit for him.”
Many Bigs worry about whether their Littles will like and accept them. “I think Littles respond best when you are being authentically who you are,” Matt added. “Looking after them while having a burger at Wendy’s, and asking about what is going on in their lives, is much more than just an outing. It’s about forming a personal bond… one that creates opportunities and life lessons for Bigs and Littles alike.”
Children enrolled in our program regularly report that their mentoring relationships have allowed them to experience new things and to discover ideas, interests and academic and career opportunities they had never imagined.
There are 600 children on our waiting list who are longing for a mentoring relationship that will provide them with new opportunities for the future.
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