Big Brother Sees Years of Growth in School Program Thanks to United Way
Big Brother and Little Brother are learning from each other thanks to United Way.
We can learn a lot from our peers, but sometimes someone with a little more patience, and a little more experience is needed to help us grow.
That was true for Travis, who had trouble fitting in with his classmates. He struggled to control his emotions, and anxiety and frustration would lead to angry outbursts.
That was a few years ago. A lot has changed since Travis was matched up with Nolan, his Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley through their in-school mentoring program, funded by United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island.
“We played a lot of board games in the first year of our match,” says Nolan.
“My Little Buddy did not like to lose. In fact, the first time he lost, he smacked the top of the game box and got up and stomped around!”
But slowly, a bond grew between the two, and Travis began to chat with Nolan about the things that bothered him. By the end of the year, Travis learned how to lose gracefully, says Nolan.
“If the truth is told, he did not often lose. And try as he might, I did not learn to play Chess, but I loved the process of him being so very proud to try and teach me,” says Nolan. And Nolan taught Travis something valuable, too.
“I was able to share with him that some of the same things that he struggled with, I struggled with too,” says Nolan. “I will never forget the sheer wonder in his eyes when he realized that he was not the only one that experienced those thoughts and feelings.”
The pair soon moved on to another activity, which presented another challenge for Travis.
Nolan says his buddy had a really hard time learning to throw a frisbee. But, after being apart for the summer school break, Nolan returned to find Travis had a new skill: he’d become a frisbee master.
“It was so incredible to know that he had practised all summer so we could play when we got back together.”
Travis continued to grow with the help of his mentor, becoming confident enough to ask his peers to play during recess and gaining many friends.
“I am so very proud of the kind, brave, and super-smart young man he is growing into,” said Nolan. “The only sad part of the entire mentoring experience for me is that young man will never truly know how much he changed my life.”
Relationships like these change lives, and United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island makes sure that they can happen.