National Mentoring Month & BBBS’ 2017
Bigs of the Year
Take a moment to recall the
different mentors you’ve known, those people who spent time to teach you a
skill or life lesson, who really listened to you, who inspired you, or who were
always there for you. We’ve all had mentors in our lives.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of
Central Texas’ mission is to help children succeed in life. We do this by
pairing children with caring adult volunteers who serve as role models, mentors
and guides. These mentoring relationships are transformative and life-changing
for children, for adults, and for the community.
January is National Mentoring
month: a time when we celebrate those who donate their time and energy to provide
opportunities and care for others.
“National Mentoring Month allows
us to celebrate the incredible impact and power of mentoring,” said Joe
Strychalski, BBBS’ Vice President of Programs. “We use this time to recognize
and thank our current Big Brothers and Big Sisters for their
involvement and to raise awareness of the need for even more individuals,
community groups and businesses to engage in this life-changing work.”
In January BBBS also announces
the agency’s Central Texas Bigs of the Year. BBBS’ 2017 awardees include Big
Sister Meredith Curran and Big Brother Jeremy Giroir. These individuals are
recognized for their exemplary service, dedication and impact.
Meredith and Takeria
“It’s been a 7-year adventure,”
Meredith said of her match with Little Sister Takeria. She recalled sitting
across from her future Little Sister and wondering what she might have in
common with the shy 8-year-old she had just met.
It turns out that the two have had
a lot in common. They have shared a lot of “firsts” together, such as Takeria’s
first hayride and first baseball game. They have also enjoyed running errands,
baking and simply hanging out at Meredith’s house. “Takeria even helped me
transport a scared dog from one animal shelter to another through my role as a
volunteer at Austin Pets Alive,” Meredith added. “When I pick her up and
include her in my activities, it makes them much more fun!”
Takeria agreed. “Just spending
time with Meredith in general is the best,” she remarked. “I never knew that
having a Big Sister would be such an amazing experience.”
Takeria has always introduced
Meredith as her Big Sister. When the two met at Takeria’s middle school for
lunch one day, a little boy looked at Meredith with surprise when Takeria said
she was her Big Sister and said, “But you’re not black!” Takeria just laughed
and went on with her conversation. “Nothing fazes her – I mean nothing!” Meredith
Meredith attributes this year’s Big
of the Year award to Takeria as much as to herself. “Without her eagerness and
dedication to spending time with me, I would not have been nominated for this award.
The greatest accomplishment in my life is being a Big Sister. This adventure
with Takeria is priceless. I am confident it will never end.”
Jeremy and Dylan
Jeremy Giroir sees his match continuing
long after his Little Brother Dylan has graduated from high school as well.
“From the very first time I met Dylan I felt like he was family,” Jeremy said.
“Although Dylan was very shy at first, it didn’t take long before I saw his
eyes light up with curiosity and his playful jokester spirit come out. To say
that he quickly became part of my life is a gross understatement. Hanging out with
him is not something I feel like I “have” to do, or that I’m “supposed” to do,
it’s something I GET to do.”
One of the other things Jeremy
gets to do is to see the world anew through the eyes of his Little Brother,
whether playing basketball and football or visiting a college campus. “Some of
my favorite conversations with Dylan involve talking about what he wants to be
when he grows up, or what college he wants to go to,” Jeremy continued. “It’s
beyond refreshing to see his confusion turn into excitement when he realizes
that he can choose his path in life.”
Jeremy sees this simple interest
in a child’s life as being the key difference between kids who have dreams of
successful futures and those who don’t. “A child’s excitement about the future
is like a light bulb that can only be illuminated by someone who genuinely
cares about them and who is willing to spend the time and effort to help them
turn it on,” Jeremy said. “Being part of an organization that allows these
connections to happen is a no-brainer for me. I can’t say enough about the Big
Brothers Big Sisters program. I think it truly changes the world one
relationship at a time.”
Dylan also values his
relationship with Jeremy. “Jeremy is a good role model,” Dylan remarked.
“Because he helps me, I want to help people too. When I say my prayers at night
I pray that everyone can have a Big Brother like me. Jeremy is a great friend
and I tell everyone he is the best Big Brother ever!”
With such exceptional examples of
all that mentoring can be and do, National Mentoring month reminds us of those
who’ve impacted our own lives, and inspires us to ‘pay it forward’ by providing
time, care, support and opportunities for others.
Learn more about becoming a Big Brother or Sister by following the links on the homepage of our website.