Brother to Brother – Strengthening Relationships and Building Brighter Futures

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, we know how important it is to help cultivate and nurture the mentoring relationships of Bigs and Littles.

As one means of support, we offer enrichment services that give matches unique opportunities to spend time together and get to know each other better. Through our Brother to Brother and Sister to Sister programs, Littles and Bigs can deepen their relationships, learn new skills and have fun all at the same time.

Scheduled quarterly throughout the year and designed for Big Brothers with Littles aged 12 and older, Brother to Brother events focus on promoting healthy lifestyles, strengthening social and life skills, and exploring career possibilities. Matches have enjoyed a wide variety of activities, including indoor rock climbing, cooking lessons, and science experiments at the University of Texas.

Our most recent Brother to Brother event, BarberComm: A Tapered Education, provided an especially fun, friendly, and unique educational opportunity. Gathering at independently-owned Skinny’s Barber Shop in South Austin, Bigs and Littles enjoyed free haircuts, tasty refreshments and white-knuckled viewings of NCAA March Madness games. For one Little Brother, the visit was also an opportunity to receive his first haircut from a professional barber!

“Our goal for the event at Skinny’s Barbershop was to introduce Littles to the barbering career and the important role that barbershops play in the community,” says Nick Vincent, BBBS Match Support Specialist and one of the coordinators of the event.

Time spent with Skinny’s barbers helped Littles learn about the art and craft of the barbering profession as well as the practical requirements for obtaining a professional barber’s license.

“Littles gained valuable insight into the nuts and bolts of running a small business, too– the patience, diligence and hard work needed to start a business and sustain it.” Nick added.

For John “Skinny” Cleaveland, owner and operator of Skinny’s, hosting a Brother to Brother event also felt like an opportunity to be of service to the community that he grew up in.

“It’s a real privilege for me. I believe in Big Brothers Big Sisters and the impact that a positive role model can have in a young person’s life,” says John. “And I get to pass on what the old school barbers taught me when I was starting out. I love it!”

While events like BarberComm are always fun opportunities for Bigs and Littles to get to know each other better, they offer more than just recreation. In addition to cultivating a deeper and more powerful mentoring relationship, our Brother to Brother and Sister to Sister programs provide Littles with even more opportunities to identify and cultivate their strengths, develop new skills, and establish a strong foundation for their future success.

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