Like Family

Big Brother Brandon and Little Brother Brady have been matched in our program for 10 years. Brady recently graduated from Fairfield High School. In Big Brothers Big Sisters’ programs, Bigs and Littles can stay matched until the Little turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens last. We recently had a chance to speak with Brandon and Brady about their experience, and we’re sharing their responses below. What’s clear is that although their match may officially be ending, their friendship will last a lifetime.

Interview with Big Brother Brandon:

What are some of your favorite memories of your time together over the past 10 years? 

One of my absolute favorite memories is when we were out to dinner about 6-7 years ago at P. F. Chang’s and Brady was looking at the menu and he asked what Ginger Chicken was, a red headed chicken? But I have really enjoyed a lot of our times together, going to Notre Dame football games and watching how animated he got about showing his love of football. The change of him being a kid who was scared of heights, and didn’t want anything to do with roller coasters on our visits to Kings Island to losing a bet to a friend of his and going on his first roller coaster and from then on he was a roller coaster junkie. I also truly enjoyed watching Brady perform with his show choir. 

What are you most proud of about your relationship with Brady

I am really proud of the mature, kind, caring young adult that Brady has become and knowing that I helped develop those traits in him. Over the years I have witnessed Brady giving advice to other kids that the choices they are making are not good choices. Brady has kept a part time job (which he took on not only because he wanted some spending money, but because he knew he needed money to pay his show choir fees), practiced and performed for show choir all the time, and kept his grades up as well.  

What significant changes have you observed in him since you’ve been matched? 

When Brady was younger, not only when we were first matched when he was 8 years old, but even as an early teenager, it was difficult to get a lot of information out of him, not just about what was going on in life or school, but to even get him to help with making decisions on the activities we were going to do, or where we were going to eat. As he became more confident he has come out of his shell, he talks about his home life, he talks about his friends, his job, even world events with his own perspective. It has probably been the most significant change.

What do you think enabled you and Brady to stay matched for 10 years?  

I think that me getting as much out of the match as Brady does has been a big reason as to why we have stayed matched for so long. 

What advice would you have for newer mentors or people considering becoming a mentor? 

I have two pieces of advice. 1) Take the time to get to know your match’s family. It helps build trust with the parent(s). 2) Don’t worry so much about thinking that you have to spend a lot of money on activities with your little. Early on in the match I felt that I needed to do this, but over the years I really learned that it isn’t so much THE activity you are doing so much as it is just spending the time with your little. They enjoy being with you.

Are you and/or Brady’s family planning any private graduation celebrations? 

I attended Brady’s high school graduation that Fairfield held for the students and a small number of guests. It was a quick graduation ceremony, but it was a great time for some photo opportunities.  [Brady could only choose 10 people to be part of his graduation ceremony at the stadium and he chose Brandon to be one of those 10 people].

What are Brady’s plans for after graduation? 

Brady is going to attend Miami University Hamilton – and he plans to major in Business.

How has being a Big Brother to Brady impacted your life? 

Brady is a great kid and it has been such a joy being a part of his life and watching him grow up. I am not a dad, nor will I ever be one, and even though I wasn’t in a dad role with Brady, it has been really good knowing that I played a part in helping him become who he is today.

Interview with Little Brother Brady:

How would your life be different if Brandon hadn’t been your Big Brother?

Having Brandon as my Big Brother has not only been amazing, but also a privilege that I’ve been so lucky to have.  He has taught me so many things from manners to just being an overall good person.  Over the past 10 years hanging out with Brandon has always been something I look forward to.  When we hang out, it’s like hanging out with my best friend.  I can’t help but smile and laugh the entire time.  I didn’t really have a male role model or someone to look up to, but Brandon has always given me that.  I’ve always looked up to him and he’s always been there for me.  I’m so grateful for everything he has done for me and I’ll never forget a single thing.  It’s truly like he’s become my big brother and a part of my family.  I hope it will always be that way.

What are some of your favorite memories of your time together over the past 10 years?

Some of my favorite memories with Brandon are when we went to the movies and got popcorn and I handed it to him and HE dropped it, but to this day he still says it was my fault.  Or the time we got Chinese food and I asked if ginger chicken came from redheaded chickens.  He always jokes about that.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend Miami University and study business.

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