I was divorced and, at the suggestion of a friend, got my daughter and son into the program some twenty plus years ago. Both mentors were wonderful for and to my children, but it was my son's relationship with his "Big Brother", Xico that took on a life of it's own. Xico is from Mexico and Joel was exposed to Mexican traditions and norms, which I thought was such a plus, but that's just a small part of Xico's influence. He impressed upon Joel and insisted that Joel strive to be a better person from behaving at home and school, improving and knowing the importance of good grades necessary for college and supported and attended Joel's sporting events and, when Joel entered college, Xico secured a scholarship from BB for him. When Xico married, Joel was welcomed into that extended family and through the years Joel saw what a good, strong marriage could be and wants his marriage to be that and I'm so grateful. I believe, in my heart, that Joel is the wonderful, confident person he is today in large part because Xico entered his life and is still in it. I can't tell you how many people I've told about the wonderful (and for me, life saving) experience Big Brothers/Big Sisters was.
I was a little sister from 1997 to 2006, and my big sister, Carol, taught me a great deal about life and inspired me to further my education beyond that of my family members. Through Big Brothers Bis Sisters I meet someone that would change my life for the better,a nd for that I am very thankful. When Carol came into my life I was the second oldest of five children and my mother had just married into a second abusive relationship. Carol was with me through thick and thin, I often saw her home as a safe haven. Carol gave be great advice on taking responsibility for my life and doing things that would make me a better person. Through Carol’s encouragement I became the first in my family to receive my bachelors’ degree in May 2010. I am also now the first in my family to continue on into Graduate Studies. Carol made a big difference in the person I am today and how I see my life choices playing out. Carol is still active in my life and we are still close friends. She became my second mother. Through Carol I was able to find scholarships and other support systems to pay for college. Due to her positive influence I have decided to become a School Counselor and help students just as she helped me. Once I am finished with school I do plan on becoming an active mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an exceptional organization. My son's father left when my son was only 2 and as my son got older he really needed a strong male role model in his life. When he was 9, I found out about Big Brothers and applied. He got the best big brother ever. His Big Brother would spend time with him every other weekend doing anything from hiking, biking, camping, surfing, volunteering at soup kitchens, going to amusement parks, etc. Over the years he was always there for him. He gave him the advice and guidance that he really needed from a strong role model. He was always there for him 24/7 no matter what he needed to talk about. He showed up at father/son events with him. He really boosted my son's self esteem and helped turn him into a responsible, loving, compassionate young adult. I am forever greatful to this organization.