Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America chooses two volunteer mentors (called ‘Bigs’) and two youth (called ‘Littles’) to represent each agency, two to represent the state and two for the nation.
The nominees are the perfect illustration on how the mentoring relationship helps Littles achieve their biggest possible futures and makes a long-lasting impact on the Big, too. This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Gulf Coast (BBBSCGC) was honored to highlight two of our wonderful matches on both the agency and state level.
For Timarcus and Ben, spending time together comes naturally. The two have been matched for more than six years and have done everything from trick-or-treating to Mardi Gras parades and bike riding together.
Although Timarcus said he values the various outings with his Big, he admits his favorite pastime with Ben is to simply have a conversation. “I just like the fact that I can be very open and talk to him and he listens. He answers me in a way that he knows that I understand and never judges me. He really accepts me for who I am, and he has never asked me to change,” he said.
Katrina Evans, who serves as the Match Specialist for the pair, can attest to their one-of-a-kind relationship. “Kids don't need superheroes; they need someone to take the time to understand them and see the potential that is not so obvious sometimes,” she said. “Ben took the time to not only understand Timarcus but to create a safe space for him to figure out that it's okay to be your unique self.”
According to both Ben and Timarcus, their relationship - which has spanned the course of elementary school, middle school, COVID-19 and now high school - is one they do not take for granted.
“Timarcus is an intelligent, successful young man with a bright future. While I cannot be certain, I tend to think that I have contributed to that, and that makes me proud. It also makes me feel a bit guilty too, because I have done nothing extraordinary. On the contrary, I have barely lifted a finger,” Ben said. “That is the beauty of BBBS. So little is required. I tell prospective Bigs that BBBS has to be the most striking example of a “small investment, big return” scenario there is. I cannot emphasize that enough. Show up + spend time = kids improve. Thus, I will continue to support Timarcus and be there for him for so long as he needs me. And, honestly, I hope he will always need me.”