Chris & Jeremiah:
Little Brother Jeremiah could hardly contain his excitement when
he finally got to meet his Big Brother Chris three years ago. Despite his
enthusiasm however, Jeremiah was not completely ready to trust in this new
relationship. In fact, according to his guardian, it was hard for him to trust
any adult since he felt most adults in his life had walked out on him. However,
his new Big Brother began to change all of that.
“He had no self-confidence,” said Chris. “He’d moved around
between homes and hadn’t had any stability. He didn’t have anyone who was
giving him attention for any extended time. I began talking to him about the
things he was great at and the things I loved about him. I told him about ways
I had failed in the past and ways that I had overcome adversity, helping him to
see that it’s okay to fail and that failing doesn’t mean you’re a
failure or a bad person.”
One activity that stands out as a huge confidence builder for
Jeremiah is the reading the two have done together before their regular outings.
When the match began, Jeremiah could barely read and had been held back for his
second grade year. “So, I shifted the focus of our outings to education,” Chris
explained. “During the first 45 minutes of each visit we would get kolaches, go
to my house and spend time reading and writing. Then we would go swimming.”
Chris often took a creative approach to helping Jeremiah
learn. “I noticed that he loved technology and always wanted to play with
my phone,” Chris continued. “So, I started having him text members of my
family, pranking them into thinking it was me. Jeremiah loved it and came up
with the most off-the-wall-texts, but he was reading and writing.”
The creative approach plus the structured reading time paid off
as Jeremiah passed his grade level and made all A’s and B’s this past year.
“He’s proud of himself and I let him know that I am proud of him too,” said
Chris. “I’m especially proud of him for continually trying, and working, and
The pair also spend time going to video arcades, bowling, roller
skating and swimming. Jeremiah has gotten to know Chris’ wife and son as well.
“Jeremiah is a great kid. He’s become family,” said Chris.
“Sometimes I’m a father figure, or a brother, uncle, or friend. There’s a lot
to love about him.”
“My upbringing was less than ideal, and spending time with
Jeremiah helps me reframe my childhood. It helps me see it through the eyes of
an 8 or a 10-year-old,” said Chris. “This is one of my closest relationships.
I’m glad Jeremiah’s in my life.”
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