Gabriel & Hector: The Journey of a Lifetime

Wanting to give back to our community even more, Hector Perez, Jr. decided to volunteer as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas.

“My experience with the organization has been great,” Hector said. “I served on the Executive Board, and chaired the Ice Ball gala, but my best experience is being a Big Brother to Gabe.”

When Hector first met his Little Brother Gabriel in 2010, he thought he could help a young man who just needed to see other paths in life.

“Wow, I got so much more than I could have imagined,” he said. “I now have a lifelong younger brother, who has also taught me a few things about myself. Our match always reminded me to be grateful for what I have and where I come from. I have a similar background as Gabe, and it was so important to send the elevator back down to help others.”

Hector is honored to have watched Gabriel grow from a “quiet, shy, and small boy” to a responsible young man.

“We went from small conversations about football teams or video games to real life stuff like what to do after high school, being responsible, and even about girls and how to always treat them with respect and dignity.”

When Gabriel started to consider joining the military, Hector’s experience serving in the United States Air Force made him perfectly suited to help. He helped Gabriel navigate and explore all the options regarding what branch and job might be best for him.

Although Hector moved from Austin in 2016, he continued to volunteer with BBBS and see Gabriel, when possible, a few times a year. But no matter the distance, the pair will always have each other.

“After 8 years of being matched, Gabriel said he loved me,” Hector said. “Gabe does not always express his emotions, and to have him open up at that level was an incredible sense of emotional growth for him. The difference a Big Brother or Big Sister can make in a child’s life is immeasurable.”

You can create this kind of connection for more kids in our community with an Amplify Austin gift to BBBS.

Thank you!

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