One Big Brother Makes a Big Difference

tony wI had long considered volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters. But it was not until I attended a breakfast for the organization with a friend that my mind was made up.

A mother of a Little Brother stood up and told her personal story.  It touched me and at that moment I knew I wanted to become a mentor – but I had made up in my mind that I was only going to volunteer for one year.

I went through the application process and within no time I became a Big Brother.  I was excited to be matched with 8-year-old Nasir.

I remember the first time we met as if it was yesterday.  I asked him what he wanted to be when he grows-up and he said, “I’m going to be a baller like Lebron James.”  I offered to help him with his game and he said, “Help me with my game?  I can help you with your game.”  I then asked him, what type of grades was he getting in school and this time he wasn’t so quick to answer.  He dropped his head and said, “C’s and D’s.”   I made him a deal.  I told him I would give him ten dollars for every A that he earned and five dollars for every B, but he would get nothing for anything less.  He was rubbing his hands together and smiling as if he had hit the lottery, but I was smiling too, because I knew that I had him. tony and nasir 2014

Today, Nasir is the starting point guard on his basketball team, but even more importantly than that, he’s been on the honor roll for the last four years in a row.  The last time, I asked Nasir what do you want to be when you grow-up, he said, “I want to be an Engineer.  Oh and Tony, I want to be a Big Brother, just like you!”  This is my eighth year as Nasir’s Big Brother!                          

~ Tony Whitten