The Gift of Opportunity: Iarion & Oliver
Opportunity is defined as a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. For many Littles, opportunity often comes in the form of their Big – that friend and mentor who opens the door to new possibilities in their lives.
Little Brother Iarion and Big Brother Oliver were matched four and a half years ago when Iarion was in middle school, and Oliver made an impact almost immediately. Iarion’s mother, Latisha, was diagnosed with a chronic health condition requiring surgery and intermittent treatments. Oliver was there for the entire family, as well as his Little Brother, during this stressful time.
The only boy in a single-parent household with his mother and two sisters, Iarion found a kindred spirit in his Big Brother. The two bonded over a shared interest in athletics. They enjoyed playing catch and hitting at the batting cages, but the activity that really inspired new possibilities was rollerblading.
“The first time I saw Iarion skate, I was really impressed by how fast and skilled he was for a young boy,” said Oliver. “He has only gotten better and faster as he has grown into a teenager.”
Last year, Oliver and Iarion attended a local speed skating competition, where Iarion did so well he was invited to compete in a national contest in Florida. The pair raised funds so that Iarion could travel to Florida to compete, and, according to his Big Brother, Iarion skated well at the competition.
Now a sophomore in high school, Iarion’s interests have expanded to include baseball and football and he is on the baseball and football teams at his school. Oliver continues to attend his Little Brother’s games and competitions, offering support and guidance. And, what started as a shared interest between a Big and a Little, may now offer even more opportunities as Iarion starts planning for college and a possible athletic scholarship.
“I encourage him to set goals and pursue his dreams,” said Oliver. “He wants to become a professional baseball player, and he has the potential to achieve that goal. Scouts, previously high school scouts, and now college scouts, constantly show up at his games to watch him play and to talk to him about the possibility of playing at their schools.”
Until that time comes, the two are focused on everyday things, such as practicing driving so Iarion can get his driver’s license. “Oliver has helped us so much,” said Latisha, Iarion’s mother. “I cannot imagine a better Big Brother or role model for Iarion.”
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