Tre and Mr. Cooper have a deep mutual respect for each other.
Male role models were difficult to come by for Little Brother Tre, according to his mother, Sharon. With a Dad who is incarcerated, Sharon realized that a positive African American male influence was important for her then 11-year-old son. “I wanted to keep him out of trouble while I was at work. However, he does help take care of his two nephews, so he does know a thing or two about responsibility,” says Sharon.
Sharon called Big Brothers Big Sisters and was introduced to Big Brother Herman Cooper, a retiree who volunteers in his church and with individuals who are physically challenged. Despite their differing lifestyles, the now 14-year-old Tre and “Mr. Cooper” have developed shared interests, including basketball and football, and a deep mutual respect over the past three years. Tre attends Mr. Cooper’s family birthday parties and various gatherings at the Shiloh A.M.E. Church. Recently, after Tre expressed an interest in raising fish at home, Mr. Cooper gave him a used 45-gallon-fish tank. This tank is now home to many different fish including a Silver Dollar fish, a Tin Foil fish, and a Catfish. Tre enjoys learning about and taking care of the fish. He makes sure the tank is clean and the fish receive the care they need to thrive.
Tre wants to be an auto body technician when he grows up, a trade that he is starting to learn in high school. According to Tre, he has learned a lot by observing how his Big Brother interacts with others, “He never holds a grudge and always befriends people.”
Sharon feels her son finally has the support he needs. “Mr. Cooper is a positive force for Tre because he will speak with him about things,” she says. And according to Big Brother Mr. Cooper, “Tre is a terrific young man. His mother has done a great job raising him!”