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An El Paso Little Becomes a Big

Michael Yokel understands firsthand the kind of impact that a strong mentor can have on a young person who lacks a role model. Not all that long ago, Yokel was a 12-year-old boy without any sort of male mentor figure in his life. He enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso where he was eventually matched up with Charles “Chuck” Taylor.

Though their match ended in 2006, Taylor and Yokel still stay in contact with each other. Taylor even now has the unique and special opportunity to refer to himself as a “Grand Big,” because Yokel, now a 25-year-old University of Phoenix graduate and fulltime employee at the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso, is a Big Brother mentor to his Little Brother, Joseph Ruiloba.

Ruiloba and Yokel have been matched for about three months, and while there was some shyness on both sides, they have both grown more comfortable with one another. Ruiloba enjoys having someone to spend time with, talking about school and just hanging out.

Taylor, Texas’ Big Brother of the Year in 2002, appreciates the obvious impact that he had on Yokel, as Yokel is now a Big Brother. Yokel exemplifies the impact that mentoring can have on a person. Taylor points out that he proudly supports Yokel’s choice to make a difference in someone’s life.

Already, Ruiloba’s mother can see a change in her son, mentioning that she appreciates what a good match Joseph and Michael are. They share many common interests, and it is important to her that her son has someone to spend time with and he has a role model. She believes he has found that person in Michael.

El Paso man now pays it forward as mentor by Victor R. Martinez (El Paso Times)

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