Elijah’s grandmother prayed that a mentor would come into her grandson’s life. With both his mom and dad out of the picture, he didn’t know how to deal with the extraordinary loss in his life. Instead, he acted out in school. He was even expelled from kindergarten. His grandmother was at a loss as to what to do next, and then he was matched with Big Brother Jamie.
Each match between a Big and a Little is special. Each has its first match meeting, its own obstacles to overcome, and ultimately its own outcomes in the lives changed. Each match has its own story, some of which you will read here. Our match stories are called “Big Impacts” because they celebrate not just the impact of the Big on the Little, but also the impact of the match on the families, the impact of the Little on the Big, and the impact of the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency that supported everyone along the way.
When Big Sister Ann first volunteered to become a Big, she envisioned being matched with a Little Sister. But the waiting list for Big Brothers is often much longer than the waiting list for Big Sisters, so she was matched through BBBS of Middle Tennessee with Little Brother Darius, a confident and positive 11-year-old who plans to go to Vanderbilt University.
In the middle of last season, Little Brother Aden’s basketball coach quit the team. Without a coach, they wouldn’t be able to play the rest of the season, so Big Brother Kevin stepped up and became the new coach. In the process, he showed his Little Brother what true commitment means.
Little Sister Breyonne’ is a 12-year-old activist and philanthropist. In fifth grade, she saw that her route home from school was dangerous, so she tried to secure a crossing guard. “All my friends walk home from school, and I did not think it was safe,” she says. “Some have to walk over a mile home and cross busy streets.” She didn’t just talk to the principal. With her Big Sister, she took her fight to the City Council.
In third grade, Kaleb was sent out of class almost every day because of his disruptive behavior. He often got suspended from school entirely. Having a supportive mom and great teachers trying to guide him wasn’t enough – Kaleb needed a Big Brother.
Little Sister Samantha beamed confidently from the pageant stage. Watching from the crowd, her Big Sister thought about the shy little girl her Little used to be. On stage, Samantha was almost a different person. “She exuded a confidence that I would have never known existed when I first met her,” Big Sister Megan says.
Smoking, drinking, and skipping school are thought of as teenage problems. But when your childhood has been a rollercoaster of loss and abuse, everything is accelerated. At age 10, Little Brother Nick already found himself ditching class and abusing alcohol. He finally turned things around with the help of his Big Brother.
When Little Sister America wanted to dye her hair a bright aquamarine, her Big Sister Laura brought her to a trusted friend’s hair salon. When America wanted a piercing, her Big Sister Laura made sure the piercer was licensed and reputable. “She has never judged me when I wanted something that some people would think was crazy,” America says. “She always listens to what I want, encourages me to communicate with my mother, and helps me understand all of the pros and cons.”
Big Brother Todd and Little Brother Tyrone, “T.J.,” were matched when T.J. was 7. At…
The year Aaqila turned 7, everything changed. Her mother moved her from Chicago to Springfield. She changed schools. She was surrounded by fewer kids who looked like her. Not long after their move, Aaqila’s mom told her that she was no longer going to be an only child – a little sister was on the way.