Become a Big: Meet Graham and Joseph

Graham holding down unfinised skateboard while Joseph use power tool to drill a hole in the skateboard
Big Graham and Little Joseph learning to build a skateboard together*

You can make a BIG impact by mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). This week, Big Graham talks about how his Little Joseph and him collaboratively set goals to walk (or skate) more confidently into his future.

The answers shared by these Bigs have not been edited and are proof of the genuine and important relationships being created in the community.

Little’s Age 15 years old
Match Length 5+ years

Why did you become a Big and how did you first hear about BBBS?

When I was growing up, I always had positive male role models who influenced, encouraged and challenged me – it was very positive and I wanted to help someone else experience that. I asked a number of work colleagues to recommend organizations I could become involved with and one of them was BBBS.

What do you feel your responsibilities as a Big are?

There are a few elements I try and build into my time with my Little. First, I want them to experience a wide range of new activities and become comfortable and even look forward to new challenges. I also like to jointly set goals and work towards achieving them, this can be something as simple as getting homework in on time for a whole semester or learning to swim and then to swim half a mile. Another responsibility is to provide a different perspective on the world and on things which are happening in their life as they grow-up and become more aware of events, being exposed to a variety of thoughts and opinions helps you develop the cognitive skills needed to navigate through the complexity of adult life.

Do you have a set day or time you go see your Little?

Yes, we meet every Saturday morning!

Where are typical places you and your Little go on a match outing? Any new routines with the shift to virtual and social distancing?

Joseph skateboarding up a ramp
Little Joseph testing out his new skateboard that he made with his Big Graham*

We alternate weekends where I chose the activity or my Little does. This means we end-up having a rich blend of fun and educational activities, we don’t really have a routine – though we do like going for donuts or ice cream if we can fit it into our activities. We do practice social distancing and wear masks especially when we are indoors. Other than that, we try and do outdoor activities such as skateboarding or cycling.

How has being a Big impacted you?

I’ve been with my Little for over 5 years and I’ve enjoyed seeing him grow up and become more confident and independent.

Do you have a favorite story about your Little that you will always remember?

When my Little was 13 years old, he was asked by BBBS to help give a talk to a room of adults some of who were interested in becoming Bigs. We had discussed and planned what he wanted to talk about and also talked about what it might feel like to talk to a room of strangers. My Little did a wonderful job, he talked confidently and clearly about his experience with BBBS and I was very proud of him.

*Photos taken prior to COVID19. As of December 1, 2020; BBBS strongly advises matches to meet virtually.

Being a Big is an impactful commitment that you can start today. Are you ready to be a Big? To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit its website or social channels (FacebookTwitter). If you are interested in becoming a Big, visit the Be a Big page to start your journey as well as find information on the upcoming National Mentoring Month campaign.

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