By: Jamye Davis
Editors note: Jamye Davis is the assistant director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Buncombe County hopes to reconnect the everyday heroes among us who have made a difference in the past through Big Brothers Big Sisters in WNC and other parts of the country. To celebrate National Mentoring Month, the BBBS is hosting “Reunite Now” on Jan. 23 to reconnect with former program participants.
Former Little Brother, Jon Spoon, who is originally from Asheville, shared his story of meeting his Big Brother Dan Waldman: “Dan and I were matched for approximately three years. I moved to the Asheville area when I was 4 and my father died when I was 7. My mom signed me up for BBBS shortly after and Dan was assigned as my Big Brother. I was 7 when I began the program and left it when we moved from the area at the age of 10.” Jon is now 24 and is finishing law school.
The impact that a Big can have on a Little’s life is significant. “Dan taught me many things,” recalled Jon. “I was fortunate to have an amazing mother. She helped me develop into the person that I was, but [she] couldn’t provide a tangible example of who I could become. Dan provided that model. He showed me that being successful did not mean compromising who you are to reach your goals. To the contrary, I learned that the greatest levels of success and happiness are attained by people who are true to themselves.”
Many Bigs don’t realize how important they were in their Little’s life until their Little becomes an adult. Jon and Dan were able to reconnect over the past summer.
“I had attended UNC Asheville and thought often of contacting Dan,” said Jon, “But I wanted to accomplish more before reaching out. This past summer I was doing a legal internship at the Asheville Art Museum. I finally mustered the courage to send Dan a letter. Dan called me the day he received the letter. While I was still in Asheville, I went to his house and had a great dinner with them. I’m sure it was odd to see me in slacks and a beard, but I felt the connection we had shared was instantly rejuvenated.”
Jon and Dan are just one of the many stories about the difference that mentoring can make. Big Brothers Big Sisters invites anyone who has been a participant in a BBBS program to contact the agency at 253-1470 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about attending Reunite Now on Jan. 23.
Readers interested in mentoring a young person are encouraged to contact the local office in their county. There are youths on waiting lists for mentors in all nine WNC counties that BBBS serves (Buncombe, Burke, Cashiers area, Cherokee, Haywood, Henderson, Highlands area, Polk, Swain). Call today or visit bbbswnc.org to find out how you can be a superhero to a child in your community!