Mentoring has rewards for volunteers and children receiving guidance

Your Support Impacts LivesThis story comes courtesy of Dana Mister, coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis.

Eric is not your everyday high school student. He is a member of the football team, the National Honor Society and is very involved in student government. But he also works for our community as a volunteer mentor or “big brother” to Samuel, a special needs youngster.

“I wanted to have an impact on a little kid’s life and be someone who they could come to in times of trouble,” Eric said of his initial interest in volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, a United Way partner agency.

“My experience being a Big Brother this year to Sam has been awesome,” Eric reports.

Eric knew that Samuel was a special needs child, but that did not stop him from making their relationship a huge success.

“Every week I look forward to the time I get to spend with Sam,” Eric said. “I am so excited when I get to see the smile on his face as I walk in the door. It has been an amazing experience and I will always remember this opportunity. I enjoy the times I get to see Sam smile – that is the high point in my relationship with him. I always have fun when we play games like Bingo or Hot Hoops. I love to see him smile as he makes the shot or is calling out the numbers for Bingo.”

Eric was nominated for the Big Brother of the Year award for his mentoring work with Samuel. Eric’s mother is proud of his nomination.

“This has been a very beneficial experience for Eric,” she said. “He has learned so much from his weekly match meetings with Samuel. He comes home after each visit, eager to tell the whole family about his day.”

Thanks to your support of United Way’s network of care, students like Eric are learning that volunteering often provides its own reward, and younger children like Samuel are able to receive positive examples in their lives through the work of mentoring.

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