“I had been approached a few times about becoming a ‘Big.’ Although I strongly believed in the mission, I consistently had the same answer, ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Fast forward a few years and, with words of encouragement from my wife and coworkers, I decided to make time.
“Within a few weeks I was a ‘Big’ to a smart, happy, kind eight-year-old boy named Elijah. It took effort to gain his trust and time for him to become comfortable with me, but I’ll never forget the moment it happened. We were out eating supper and all of a sudden his face lit up, the gates opened, and out poured a detailed recap of his weekend including a scene-by-scene description of the latest superhero movie he had just watched. I remember not wanting to interrupt him, even though we were running late to get him home. I was so happy to see him open up that I just sat back and enjoyed the show.
“And I’m glad I did, because that would be one of the last times I would see Elijah. On February 5, 2016, Elijah was tragically killed in a car accident.
“When I heard the news, I was immediately filled with sadness and regret. I wished I had spent more time with him, scheduled one more outing, gone to lunch with him one more time. Through this time of grief, the Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and Elijah’s family assured me I made a big impact on his life despite the short time we had together. He had made an impact on my life as well. In less than a year, he had transformed my outlook on volunteering from ‘I don’t have enough time’ to ‘I didn’t get enough time.’ I am now a Big again to a little boy named Gavin.”
Published Date:February 15, 2019