Written by Michelle Chahyadi
Cheryl “Deanne” is a 47-year old single mom of 3 boys. For the last 19 years, Deanne has worked for Child Protective Services. A few years ago, Deanne came across the BBBS mentoring program and decided to enroll her middle son, Brendan, as a Little Brother. During the course of his match, Brendan greatly benefited from the time spent with his Big Brother and continued to grow tremendously in their relationship until Brendan graduated from high school and moved away for college.
Fast forward a few years later, Deanne’s youngest son, Jayden, is now waiting to be matched with a mentor at BBBS as well. Jayden, now a 14-year-old student at Mann Middle School, grew up seeing his older brother spend time with his Big Brother and desires to have a similarly enriching experience. Deanne believes that having a Big Brother in Jayden’s life would help give him the positive male influence that Deanne cannot provide as a single mother, especially since his older brothers no longer reside in Abilene.
About 2 years ago, Jayden was matched with a Big Brother for a year. Overall, both Deanne and Jayden thought that it was a great match and that Jayden grew a lot during that time. In fact, Jayden believes that his Big helped him to be more open. Having had a positive experience with his first Big, Jayden decided that he wants to be rematched and has since been waiting for another mentor to come into his life.
When I asked Jayden about his favorite things to do, he mentioned that he loves swimming, going to the arcades, singing in the choir, playing video games, conducting science experiments, and watching movies. Jayden is also an avid fan of pepperoni pizza! Next year, Jayden will start his freshman year at Abilene High and is still hoping that he will find the right Big to be matched with. Jayden is hopeful and believes that the program will be very beneficial in his transition into high school. One day, Jayden hopes that his experience as a Little Brother can give him the foundation that he needs to be an influential Big Brother for another BBBS Little.
To learn how to volunteer as a Big, visit www.bbbstx.org/volunteer.