By Anitra Mitchell
I asked Anitra to write this blog about her experiences with Big Brothers/Big Sisters after Rachel H and I were invited to a BB/BS luncheon. I knew little about BB/BS at the time, and was amazed to learn so much about this wonderful organization, the parents who give so much of their time and love, and all the incredible “little brothers and sisters.” I also had no idea Anitra and her family were involved as “Bigs” before attending this luncheon and discovering her husband is the president of the local BB/BS chapter. Anitra and her husband, Brad, have two beautiful boys: Cooper (age 5) and Turner (age one), and one amazing “little brother” Steven. I hope you enjoy their story. – KM
Our first encounter with Big Brothers/Big Sisters came in 2005 when my husband, Brad, joined the Board of Directors of this wonderful organization. I had never realized how many kids there are out there that need someone to just “be there for them.”
To help these kids who are waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister, the agency plans special events such as “Big Brother/Sister for a Day.” Brad volunteered and that is when he first met 12-year–old Steven. Steven was fortunate to have a loving mom and three outstanding older sisters, but no father in the house. His mother wanted Steven to have a positive male influence in his life. so she contacted BB/BS.
Brad and Steven had a great day together, and soon after we received a call from BB/BS asking us if we would be interested in matching with Steven. The time commitment is one hour each week for two years. At the time, we were very new parents and were already overwhelmed! There were never enough hours in the day. We discussed the opportunity and decided to go for it. Steven was someone we really wanted to know better. We also wanted our son to learn at an early age the importance of community and caring for others. It was definitely the right choice for our family because the rewards have been immeasurable. Steven has added just as much, if not more, to our lives as we have to his.
Being a “Big” is a wonderful way to volunteer and have lots of fun at the same time. Some of the activities are for the entire family, but sometimes it’s just the boys. We’ve gone to the circus, ride bikes, play golf, watch movies, play Wii, go to dinner, hang out at our home, and play basketball. We’ve even taken a couple of road trips to see the Clemson Tigers play in Death Valley.
Our growing family has been blessed to have a part in Steven’s many accomplishments over the past four year. He was an honor student at Paisley when we first met him and now he will be finishing out his junior and senior year of high school at NC School of the Arts due to his amazing musical talent. We have also been able to witness several other of Steven’s achievements. He has been Secretary of the National Youth Achievers, President of Student Council at Paisley, All Region and All State saxophone player, jazz band, Eagle Scout and Governors School. We are so proud of him!
Even though our two year commitment to BB/BS is over, Steven is and will always be an important part of our family. Just as with my own two sons, I look forward to the many things that are in Steven’s future and can’t wait to see what life has in store for him.
If you would like any information on this amazing organization, please visit their website at www.bbbsnc.org or call 336-724-7993.
Are you a “Big”? If you have a story or experience to share, please do so!