Matt and Angel: A Mentoring Relationship That Spells F-U-N

Matt and Angel: A Mentoring Relationship That Spells F-U-N

They’ve been matched for less than a year, but they have already become best friends simply by spending time together each week, and shuffling a few tiles… Scrabble tiles, that is. Big Brother Matt and Little Brother Angel have found a great kinship through their mutual love of a game.

And it’s not just any game, it’s a game that has had family significance for Matt throughout his life. “My grandparents loved Scrabble. I’m not going to say it’s why they got married, but it was a tangible part of their marriage,” said Matt.

Now Matt’s family legacy is influencing another generation and another family, all because of his match.

When he first signed up with BBBS, Matt thought he might be matched with a Little Brother who had behavioral issues. Instead, he got a new friend who shares many of his interests. “It’s awesome,” said Matt. “Angel is an old soul. He’s just a great kid. He loves school and is good at it, he loves his mom and sister, loves reading, and playing chess. He likes everyone. He’s a young man who just needed some ‘dude time.’”

Angel’s mom, Katia, agrees. “Being matched has impacted Angel a lot,” she said. “He’s very smart but he doesn’t always know how to express his feelings. Since being matched, if I have concerns about something, I’ll ask Matt to talk to him. He is very patient with Angel.”

Angel’s immediate family consists of his mom and his sister, who are much more outgoing than Angel. “He needed someone to encourage his interests and assure him he was walking a good path,” said Matt. “He’s just never had a consistent male role model in his life. I’ve just helped him understand, ‘You’re a cool kid. You don’t need to be something you aren’t.’”

Enter the simple game of Scrabble.

It was Matt’s mom who introduced Matt to Scrabble. “I’d been waiting for my mom to meet Angel, so we got together to play. We were all geeking out about how special it was,” said Matt. “Late into the game we were all tied with only a couple of turns to go. Now, my mom is an attorney. She’s a sharp lady. Angel was going toe to toe with her. She wasn’t sandbagging because Angel doesn’t like that. But he made an awesome play and moved ahead. I was first and he was second, and my mom, it was the happiest she’s ever been to lose.”

“She (Matt’s mom) gave me big Scrabble tiles that spell out my name that I can put in my room,” said Angel. He has now taught Scrabble to his whole family, even his grandmother who is primarily Spanish speaking.

“I’ve been blown away with the perfection of this match,” said Matt. “I am getting so much out of this program. You can really make a difference and you will really enjoy it.”

Small moments. Big impacts. That’s the power of mentoring.

If you have not already done so, please consider making a year-end gift to Big Brothers Big Sisters to create impacts like these for more children in our community. It takes only moments to give, but your gift can make a world of difference for a child.


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