Mentoring Success Story: “It’s not about the money”
The benefits of mentoring relationships on mentees are endless. Research shows that mentors have the power to influence a child’s development including career goals, academic performance, social skills, and more. Of the many practical life skills a mentor can teach, one that makes a huge difference in a child’s daily habits is the practice of spending and saving your money. Talking from firsthand experience, former intern and Little Brother Bright Osajie talks about his financial experiences and how his Big Brother Norman leads by example when it comes to spending money wisely.
“As I have grown over the years, managing money has definitely become much more of a concern for me. Working and learning how to handle my money have come hand in hand. I’ve had summer jobs and internships since the summer before 9th grade and it has been great to accumulate all that money, though it has also been a challenge to learn how to responsibly handle it. Being an intern in the Big Brothers Big Sisters office and working with the Development team is giving me experience and skills that will benefit me in the long run, though I am also getting a little money on the side. It’s great to be able to have a job where I can learn and keep busy while earning some money to save up for things I will need in the future.
For this internship and pretty much every summer job I’ve had, I plan to save most of the money I earn in my personal bank accounts and leave it there. I’m big on saving and always leave money in my own debit and savings account. Clothes are my guilty pleasure, but I have still know to control how much I spend on clothes because I have learned that money spent on things like that can build up over time if you’re not careful.
A lot of what I have learned about money has also come from my mom and the ways I see my Big Brother Norman spend money. Norman is great with money because he is responsible and only spends money on things that he actually needs for himself, his wife, and his home. On my end, my mom set up a debit account for me and she showed me the importance of saving for the future. As I am about to go to college and beyond, I will need all the money I have saved up for many expenses.
My Big teaches me how to manage my money by example. When Norman and I hang out, we never spend money lavishly. This shows just how much mentoring has an impact, because Norman’s example had an impact on me. As I mentioned in my previous posts, Norman and I usually just tend to have nice lunches these days.
Once in a while I’ll go over to his house and hang out or he’ll come to mine. And we also follow each other on many random errands. Money is never a big issue for us because we always just enjoy each other’s company and the only money we spend is on small lunches.
My favorite activity with Norman that does not involve money is just talking and having the good conversations about his life or mine. Whether it’s in the car, at his house, or wherever, it’s nice just to be able to talk with each other. I also love talking with his wife. They are both so smart and interesting and I always learn from talking to them. This, for me, is the best part about having a Big, especially when you’re an older little like me because you need someone to talk to about all the things going on in your life. Because I can’t always talk to my mom about everything, Norman is always there to lend support and talk to me about anything I want.
Being with Norman for almost 10 years, I have fortunately learned that you don’t always need so much money to have fun and accomplish things. While money is nice, at the end of the day, life is about so much more than that. Life’s all about special experiences, love, and the connections we form with people.”