Don, a retired police helicopter pilot, and his wife Linda, a retired Dallas police officer, are what Big Brothers Big Sisters calls a “Big Couple.” That simply means they are both “Bigs” to “Little Brother,” Jake, a fourth grader in the Midlothian Independent School District.
As a Big Couple, Don and Linda can spend time with Jake as a couple, or separately. This is a great way for them to be together while investing in Jake’s life. Don and Linda have been matched with Jake for a year and a half in the organization’s community-based program.
When asked what inspired them to become a Big Couple, Linda answered, “our son and daughter-in-law mentored a Little Brother and we saw the influence they had on him, so when the program was introduced at our church, we jumped at the opportunity.”
Most of the time, the three of them hang out at Jake’s school, however, they also enjoy going to movies, out to dinner, to the baseball field or playing board games. During an interview, Don said his favorite things to do with Jake are, “watching him play baseball, going to the movies, and bowling at the Bowl For Kids’ Sake event.” Linda went as far to say, “we just enjoy every time we get together.”
When asked what his Bigs are like, Jake answered, “They are fun, sweet, awesome, kind and nice.” When asked the same question about Jake, Don responded by saying, “he is wonderful, talented, and a very gentle-spirited young man.” Linda added, “Jake is absolutely precious! He is inquisitive and loves to tell us things he has learned from books or watching the History Channel. He is polite and has awesome manners!”
Don and Linda were especially thrilled to share how proud they are of Jake for recently being nominated and then accepted as part of the People to People program, which will allow Jake to travel to Europe this summer with other students to study other cultures.
The couple expressed an appreciation for the opportunity to mentor. The fact that Don and Linda have been matched with Jake for a year and a half in the community-based program says a lot about their experience.
When asked what the best part of mentoring is, Linda said, “it’s the feeling that in some way I can be a positive influence in Jake’s life; I know he has influenced us.” Don added, “The best part of being a Big for me is just connecting again with the younger generation and knowing I can contribute to their success.”
He went on to explain how this experience has allowed him to learn to better communicate with youth as well as gain a good understanding of current youth activities and challenges. Linda said, “This experience has been very positive for, I believe, all of us! We love Jake’s family and hope the effect will be long lasting!”
The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program is about being a consistent friend to a child. Volunteers can participate in the School Based program (just one lunch period every week) or the Community Based program (visiting your Little Brother or Sister outside of the school setting a minimum of four hours per month). They also have Couples Matches and Family Matches. Contact Marni White at 972-573-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on volunteering or to donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters.