Little Brother Kweli was matched with his Big Brother Chuck 4 years ago when Kweli was just 10 years old. Kweli is now in his freshman year of high school and their friendship continues to grow each year. Kweli and Chuck love going to the movies and staying up to date with the newest film releases. They also enjoy going to a variety of sporting events, including Monmouth University basketball games and Lakewood Blue Claws baseball games. During a recent conversation with their case manager, Genna, Kweli described Chuck as, “A nice guy all around. He does a lot of things with me and it’s always a lot of fun.” Chuck often talks with his case manager about how he has enjoyed watching Kweli grow into a young man and even joked that Kweli is now taller than him!
We spoke with Genna about her experiences working with a match like Chuck and Kweli’s. She gave some inside information as to what she thinks makes a successful Big and Little pair and why Chuck’s relationship with Kweli stands out to her.
What qualities help make a successful match in a Big and Little pair?
I believe the qualities that make a successful match between a Big and Little start with an open mind and willingness to learn from each other and gain new experiences, possibly out of your comfort zones. Consistency, dedication, compassion and the ability to celebrate the match relationship are qualities in a positive Big. Lastly, I believe the most important aspect to a successful match is creating a ‘give and take’ relationship where both the Big and the Little are benefiting and creating a positive outlook and future together.
What about Chuck and Kweli’s relationship stands out to you?
Chuck and Kweli’s match relationship stands out to me for their ability to continue their strong and positive friendship for 4 years, even while Kweli entered high school and is getting older. A few years ago, Kweli told Chuck, “I don’t want this to ever end.”
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working with Chuck and Kweli?
It is rewarding to hear how highly Chuck and Kweli speak of each other. Kweli has described Chuck as “a good person all around” “cool and chill” and “really fun and a good person to talk to about stuff.” In addition, Chuck as described Kweli as a “great kid” “who is maturing and always so polite.” Chuck often jokes, “If it were up to Kweli, we would hang out every day!”
What has it been like to work with Chuck over the past several years?
Chuck is a pleasure to speak with while doing match support. He is always extremely positive and is truly an advocate for Kweli and hopes for him to have a bright future. Chuck always comments on his main goal of being there to watch Kweli graduate from high school and go to college. As a result, I think when the Big has their own goal for the Little to succeed it shows the type of person they are.
What advice do you have for someone who may be interested in becoming a mentor?
Give it a try! Becoming a mentor to a child is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences you can give yourself. Providing 1:1 attention to a child can change their life forever. You have the opportunity to learn new things, develop important leadership skills, and most importantly have fun!