“The Right Way to Grow Up”

Big Brother Chris and Little Brother Kvaughn

Big Brother Chris and Little Brother Kvaughn

Navigating life is not easy for any parent, guardian or child. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Early in K’Vaughn’s life, Kristi recognized this and knew that she needed a male role model to be there for her son. K’Vaughn was matched with Big Brother Chris in 2005, when Little Brother K’Vaughn was just five years old. They were matched through a school-based program and soon after were moved to a community-based program after K’Vaughn asked Chris if they could meet out of school to spend more time doing other activities. Through the nine years of their matching, they have spent their time playing mini golf, riding go-karts, visiting the aquarium, attending ballgames, concerts, movies, swimming and bike riding.

Chris understands the importance of honesty, respect and character through his 27 years of service with the Air Force. He has made sure to bestow these values to K’Vaughn as he goes through his teenage years. Chris has encouraged K’Vaughn in thinking about his future, focusing on education and offering advice when needed. Even in times where K’Vaughn may be disappointed and frustrated, such as having an injury due to sports, Chris has been there to ensure him that things will be okay. Chris has made sure K’Vaughn understands that hard times help people develop patience and reflect on the good things in life. Through this support, teachers have reported seeing improvements in his reading skills, becoming more helpful and confident in the classroom. K’Vaughn is active in many school sports, including basketball, football and baseball, and has often made honor roll. “His future is so bright and I am excited to be along with him for the journey,” says Chris. K’Vaughn said Chris has helped him in every way, but most importantly, he is constantly teaching him “the right way to grow up.”

Chris identifies the necessity of parental partnership, too, demonstrating respect for Kristi’s role and stating how she does a phenomenal job as a mother. He discusses things with Kristi as he identifies the need, but also tries to be cautious to not violate the sense of trust in his mentor/mentee relationship with K’Vaughn. “As a single mother who wants the very best for my son, I could not ask for a better Big Brother, mentor and father figure in K’Vaughn’s life,” Kristi mentioned when talking about her appreciation for Chris and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. “He likes to make Chris proud and for me that shows what an amazing impact he has had on my son in the best of ways,” Kristi added.

There have been many sporting events, birthdays, graduations and even the attendance of Chris’ retirement ceremony. All of these moments are ones that Chris and K’Vaughn say have helped their relationship transcend the Big/Little framework. They see each other not as Big and Little any more – they see each other like family.

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