A positive role model can make all the difference in a child’s life. That’s why Big Brothers Big Sisters was created.
The organization matches boys and girls with adult mentors that can make a positive influence in their lives. While many children have benefited from the program, there are many young boys here in Baltimore currently waiting for a big brother because there simply aren’t enough male mentors volunteering.
"We have about 300 male mentees who are currently on our wait list that are waiting to be matched with a male mentor,” said Derryck Fletcher, the Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters at the Y.
That’s about 300 male Littles turning to the program in hopes of getting a role model. But due to a lack of male volunteers, some have been waiting weeks, even months to be matched with a Big.
"There is huge power and huge influence in an adult role model having a trusting and consistent relationship with a child that he or she is not related to,” said Fletcher. “Having an opportunity to have a mentor or a big brother for our male littles or male mentees on our wait list is possibly life changing for them.”
Edahkiah Watson is one of many Littles that have benefited from the organization. For the past 3 ½ years, Watson and his Big, Bill Adams have developed quite the bond.
“It’s nice to know that you are having an impact on someone’s life at that young of an age,” said Adams. “A natural bonding happened. It was just really easy. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.”
From baseball games to rock climbing, these two have created countless memories together. Adams even introducing Edahkiah to his new love of photography. A passion he may not have discovered otherwise.
“I like to take pictures and get beautiful pictures and make it wonderful,” said Watson.
“He’s got a really good eye,” said Adams. “I taught him some of the tricks of the trade.”
Adams decided to sign up for Big Brothers Big Sisters hoping to give back, not knowing what he’d gain in return.
“It’s been really rewarding. There’s no doubt about that,” said Adams.
That’s the same sentiment many other mentors share.
"Most of our mentors get into mentoring to give their time and their service and their heart if you will because they want to give back,” said Fletcher. “But what's so interesting is that the mentors often wonder if they got more back out of the relationship than the mentee did.”
That’s why Fletcher is hoping more mentors get involved. Especially more men.
If you would like to volunteer