Growing up in Texas, Big Brother Tom learned what mentoring was all about from his father. Dad wasn’t only a role model for his own children — he watched out for the boys next door and made them feel like part of the family.
When Tom first met Little Brother Nicholas, he was surprised by all the things they had in common. (Big Brothers Big Sisters strives to find matches with similar interests.) Amazingly, both had been adopted and were growing up in interracial families. For Nicholas, who felt “lost” as a child, that shared experience really meant a lot. “Tom knew exactly what it was like to be different from everyone else and he was able to provide me with a role model that I could look up to,” Nicholas remembers.
Today, however, Tom jokes that they’ve become more and more different over time. Through 10 years of doing good work like planting trees and fundraising, doing sports together and just “hanging out,” Nicholas has grown up … and Tom smiles and says he has become “more immature.” It must be the fun of hanging out with a young person!
It’s clear Tom and Nicholas’ friendship has grown strong, and both Big and Little are better for it. Says Tom, “I consider our bond, our shared perspective, and our mutual openness to be the high point of our relationship. It is probably one of the high points of my life.”
And as for Nicholas, he has this to say. “Tom always will be my main source of inspiration and guiding light.”