Each month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin shines a light on the relationships that we are helping build within our community. Please help us congratulate Stephen and his little brother Brandon — our Brown County Match of the Month for December.
Where did you hear about Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Stephen: I remembered hearing about BBBS when I was younger, but more recently I saw information online.
Why did you want to become involved?
S: Initially, I was looking to do some community volunteering when the idea of BBBS came up again. I talked to my sister about it, who’s a school teacher, and she convinced me to go that route in the volunteering aspect.
Why did you want to have a Big?
Brandon: I wanted to have a Big because I wanted someone to talk to while I was out of school. I also wanted someone to help me with my homework when I needed it. Also just to do fun things with.
What do you do when you spend time together?
S: Over time we have picked a few things that we like doing and we rotate through them once a week. They include bowling, going to see a movie, flying the kite, or throwing the ball around. Baseball or football.
Over the summer we write short stories. Brandon has become quite creative with his tales of sci-fi and unexpected volcanic teleportation. He does a great job of mixing his life experiences into his writings. And it’s given me the writing bug. I’m still working on a singular story that’s, at this point, over one hundred pages long.
We had a couple of camping trips in the back yard this last summer. I think he’s ready for an actual wilderness expedition! He and his grandparents spend a lot of time in the outdoors and we’re accumulating our experience as well. Last summer, he pitched the tent by himself, and helped prepare some of the food. With a little more planning, I think we’ll be ready.
B: When we spend time with each other we usually go bowling when it’s colder because we can’t do many other things. We also go see movies and go out to eat. When it’s summer time, we like to go to Bay Beach and go to Kastle Park to ride the go-carts there. We also go camping and play video games.
What have you enjoyed about being a Big?
S: The best part about being a Big is the experience of growing together. Learning from him and seeing the person he’s becoming. For me, initially it was just a year of volunteering, now it’s almost four years and he’s my little buddy. Though now he’s in high school, I’m just the older brother that likes to try and beat him at his video games… which rarely happens. 🙂
What is a memorable moment that stands out with your Big?
B: Something memorable that stands out with me and Stephen is that we have been matched for almost 3 years maybe almost 4. Most matches are never matched that long. We were told that some matches don’t even last a year. We’re one of the lucky matches.
Is there something in the future that you would like to do together, or that you look forward to experiencing together?
B: A couple thing I would like to do with Stephen is going to E3. E3 is a gaming convention that he likes and I’m interested in. Another thing is learning to drive a car.
In what way has being matched with your Little affected you and your life?
S: Being match with Brandon has made me expect the unexpected. We do things together I may not have done again, like flying kites on the beach at the lake or going to Bay Beach, or even going to a library. It’s a great friendship, and I look forward to seeing him become a Big Brother someday.
B: Us being matched has made me a better person because he gives me goals to strive for and helps me when I’m struggling. When I’m with him, he helps me when I’m stressed and I’ve been getting better at my chores.
What have you learned from your Big?
B: One thing I have learned from Stephen is that he is a very caring person and very nice. He never gets mad at me when I do something wrong. He is an awesome individual.
How do you see your match continuing in the future?
B: Alright so even though I’ll be 19 and being matched ends at age 18 I see that we will be doing the same things we always do. I’ll be driving him around too because I will have a car🤣🤣. I feel I that see him and I will be having fun no matter if we’re matched or not. He will always be my Big Brother.
What would you say to others about Big Brothers Big Sisters and to others who are thinking about becoming a Big?
S: I would tell someone thinking about the program to go for it. It’s an experience like no other. One that you’ll never forget and once you start, you never finish growing from your time together. It gives a little brother or sister someone to hear their story without judgement or prejudice. And you might not see the impact right away, but it’s there for both of you!