Mentoring Real Life Stories- by Bright, A Little Brother
My name is Bright and I have been involved in the BBBSMB program since I was about 8 years old. My mom heard about the program and about mentoring real life stories from a friend and, without my knowledge, set up an interview for my brother and me to each get a Big Brother. My father was never in our life so I could understand why my mom would want us to have some kind of older male figure to be around and support us. I was matched with Norman on August 26, 2002. Although we have already graduated from the program, this August will be our 10th anniversary. I still remember that day so vividly. I was up to some shenanigans in my apartment back then and I remember hearing the door buzz. I saw him downstairs through the staircase but he couldn’t see me. I remember seeing a big man with white hair and I thought to myself “He REALLY IS a Big Brother! Or should I say father?” But I went into the interview with an open mind.
Growing with my Big was a learning experience for both of us. From the start, I liked him and I felt that he liked me so we decided to start hanging out. I was a little shy at first but also easygoing so over time I got acclimated to him much better. When we first started hanging out, our car rides were really quiet and we only had small talk. I wasn’t sure how to interact with him because I did not know him and I felt like I couldn’t relate to him. My timidity towards him slowly drifted away with time. Simply, the more we hung out and talked, the more comfortable I felt around him. We did a variety of activities that in retrospect, I am so grateful for. My mom was always working so she didn’t always have the time to take my brother and me out to do fun things; but nevertheless, Norman and I always found something interesting to do.
Norman will always be so special in my heart because he gave me a lot of the first experiences in my life. He took me on my first bike ride through a bike trail and a park, helped me fly my first kite, took me fishing, to my first Celtics and Red Sox games, and although I have not tried it since, he took me to go ice skating as well. And still the list goes on. When we first got matched, we did more active and outdoorsy activities and festivals and things of that sort, but as we have both grown older, Norman has really helped to culture me by taking me to shows and cool restaurants, and on top of that, we just talk a lot more about life. He has helped me understand politics more, he gives me advice on many things, he has helped me realize my love of dance, and he has also taught me the importance of being who I am. Nowadays, we always have great lunches and we just sit and talk about each other’s’ lives and about the world around us. I confide in him about all aspects of my life in our hangout sessions and it has truly been great to unwind with him.
I had the opportunity to work as an MLK Summer Scholar intern last year also and it was really fun. I am excited to be back for a second year. My hope from this job is to pick up good skills like working in a professional environment with a great team of people, and learning from the myriad of projects I have and will be given this summer, and honestly, to be of service to an organization that changed my life for the better!
Topics: Bigs Littles Alumni, Mentoring Real Life Stories
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