Have you ever had a mentor in your life? Someone who listens to you, teaches you to views things from different perspectives, someone who encourages you to be the best you that you could be? It could be a parent, teacher, or anyone you really look up to. This is a story of one of our matches and how influential a mentor can be for a child.
Moving in and out of foster care growing up, one can only imagine how the stress and constant change can impact a child’s lack of trust and stability with others. For 12 year old Isaac, it was hard to confide in almost anyone; that is, until he met Ken.
Although some may prefer not to get involved with their Little’s personal troubles, Ken was the steadfast support system to not only Isaac, but also to his foster family. Since their match in July 2015, Isaac’s self esteem has flourished. Ken and Isaac’s family have noticed significant improvement in Isaac’s ability to convey his feelings, to control his behavior in public, and has even taken interest in new hobbies. When Ken acquired tickets to a country music concert, Isaac used his own money to buy them both a cowboy hat. Though realizing neither are the biggest country music fans, the time spent together was well worth it.
Just recently, Isaac participated in the local dragon boat races while Ken cheered him on from shore. A dragon boat is a long boat that requires several paddlers to maneuver, in which also requires a team effort and strong communication skills. This was the first team-related activity Isaac had participated in, and after the races, Ken had never seen Isaac’s face so lit up with delight! He was so excited to have received a medal for his achievements and to have Ken encouraging him from beginning to end. It was the first time Ken heard him say that he was proud of himself.
Ken has been a constant, dependable, overall positive influence in Isaac’s life. He was nominated for an exceptional volunteer award for his efforts with Isaac, and Isaac’s foster mother could not agree more. “… He will never tell you that or admit that he is anything special, but we all know he is.”
Stories like this is what fuels the vision of Big Brothers Big Sisters and for us to continue doing what we do. Every child has the ability to succeed and achieve great things, but sometimes it takes the right person to help them realize it for themselves. Having someone like Ken to confide in through difficult times can really make all the difference in one’s life. For Isaac, he is more self-confident, brave enough to try new things, and for the first time in a while, proud of himself.