Tasha Carrington Honors Late Son’s Mentoring Relationship by Becoming a Big Sister
After tragically losing her son, Darrion, at the young age of 18 to gun violence on January 8, 2008, Tasha Carrington has found some relief from her grief by serving youth and families in her church community. The 52-year-old Brockton resident is a member of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute Survivors Network and helps to coordinate the Feel Good by Design Grief and Life Support Group at her church. On Mother’s Day, she will lace up for the 26th annual Mother’s Day Walk for Peace for which she is one of the survivor co-chairs representing the faith community. Shortly after, she will be honored as one of the Mothers of the Year at the 24th Annual Earlean Blakely Mother’s Day Banquet, hosted by Michael Blakely & Friends, The Yawkey Boys and Girls Club of Roxbury, and Boston Housing Authority.
As Carrington reflects on the village of family, friends and community members who touched Darrion’s life, she can’t help but remember Jason, her son’s volunteer mentor, referred to as his “Big Brother,” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Massachusetts (BBBSEM). Jason and his wife took Darrion into their home, showed him around Boston and spent quality time together for 12 years. He was one of her son’s biggest champions as Darrion played basketball while navigating a degenerative eye disease and served as a consistent male role model. In an effort to pay it forward, Carrington is now waiting to be matched with her own “Little Sister” from the very same one-to-one youth mentoring program. She looks forward to supporting children in the way Darrion was loved and to giving back to her community in his honor.
“I’m the product of two teenagers – my mom and dad were 16 and 17 when they had me – and so, I had a traditional Christian upbringing with the help of both sets of my grandparents,” says Carrington, a Dorchester native. “My parents and grandparents also played an integral role in my son’s life. Not as many children are so lucky. I don’t have more children or grandchildren. But, I know I can be a blessing to someone else’s child for the same organization that was such a blessing to mine.”
With research and proven outcomes at its core, BBBSEM creates matches based on shared interests, geography and personality and serves as a consistent resource for mentors, mentees, and their families. The organization serves as a bridge between communities and community partners, helping to address larger social issues, such as race and education gaps.
“When Darrion passed away, I was the supervisor of the youth choir in which Darrion was a part of and served as a youth ministry leader and had the privilege of helping young people every day,” says Carrington, who is known as “Auntie Tasha” in her church community. “A lot of times, parents and grandparents may not realize the pressure kids are under these days and how they may not feel comfortable talking to them about certain issues. I create a safe space for them to go and give them the best advice possible. This is the kind of support we can provide as mentors to children.”
Anyone can become a mentor as the agency welcomes youth and adults of all races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and physical abilities. Volunteers must be 18 years old or older and be able to commit a few hours a few times a month for at least a year and have a passion for positively impacting a young person’s life.
“Stories like Tasha’s inspire and remind us all to show up and be there for our youth,” says Mark O’Donnell, President & CEO of BBBSEM. “Families have enough challenges to navigate. We want to ensure our adult mentors remain a constant and accessible resource for youth who may feel a greater sense of instability right now and we want our adult volunteers to see the ripple effect that mentoring one child can have on families and communities at large.”
Interested in becoming a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister for one of our one-to-one youth mentoring programs? Click here for more information.