As I end my 36-year career with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the last 28 here in Western North Carolina, I have some final thoughts to share. For those of you who just want the Cliff Notes version, here it is – THANK YOU! For those of you willing to indulge me, here goes.
While in college, a professor of mine once remarked that he believed there were only two types of people in the world – those who made your day easier and those who made it harder. I took this to heart and decided then and there to be a person who made life easier for others. It’s so easy to do that it quickly became a habit, and then, a career. Respect others through politeness, listen to their stories, be open and honest, and try to share laughs together.
When you think about it, I have just described the nature of mentoring. All of us have had a mentor in our lives, someone who decided to make our lives easier by being there for us, sharing their knowledge and guiding us to become a better version of ourselves. Whether it was a parent, a relative, a teacher, a coach, a friend or a Big, they formed an invisible partnership with us to make our life easier, or better. So to my personal mentors, I say, “thank you!”
And, by extension, THANK YOU! to all of the partners of Big Brothers Big Sisters, who made each day of my 28 years here easier. Thank you to the donors and program supporters, who believe strongly in our mission. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who have volunteered to be Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Your dedication and willingness to form a positive bond with a young person is truly the lifeblood of this program.
Finally, thank you to all of the parents, guardians and Littles who have invited us to become a part of your lives. Mentoring by nature is a partnership, and you have taught us as much as we have shared with you.
I have always been proud to be a part of this program. I believe that Friendships with a Purpose is not only a lofty goal for this program, but for each of us as a person. In closing, Thank You! for allowing me to live this with you for all of these years.
Now, did you hear the one about a priest, a minister, a rabbi and a mentor walk into a bar … ?