Meet a Match: Big Couple Barry & Steph and Little Brother Derek
February 14, 2019 , Jennifer Severson
Barry and Steph were looking for ways to give back and volunteer together. They found the perfect fit as a Big Couple through Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities. Being a Big Couple allows them to mentor together while also igniting potential in their Little Brother Derek. Plus, Derek is lucky to have a Big Brother AND a Big Sister!
BBBS: What is your favorite part of being a Big?
Barry: My favorite part of being a Big is being able to bring new experiences to Derek. We try to make sure everything we do has both an educational and fun component, erring on the side of fun. He really enjoys trying new things. We end every session getting ice cream from a local ice cream shop.
Steph: It’s been fun to watch Derek grow up and gain more confidence. When we would first got together he was very quiet and would hardly talk to us. Now, he gets in the car and talks and sings and asks us lots of questions.
BBBS: What kind of activities do you and your Little enjoy?
Barry: Some of our favorites include hiking at a local park, roller-skating, visiting the Science Museum, taking in any and all events that BBBS sponsors and watching movies. Every year we try to get to a Minnesota Twins game and attend the Minnesota State Fair.
BBBS: Share a favorite memory of your Little or a moment when things just clicked.
Barry: We went to a roller-skating event sponsored by BBBS. They asked both Derek and us to answer some questions together. One of the questions for Derek was to list the people in his life he trusts. He first mentioned his mom, then he mentioned Steph and I and then a few other family members. I was just taken aback because while I knew we were having a positive impact on his life, I had no idea we were #2 on his trust list. This really made my day!
Steph: One of my favorite activities was the climbing event at Vertical Endeavors. I think when we mentioned it, Derek immediately said yes, without really knowing what it was. When we arrived and he saw the walls, I think he was having second thoughts. We got all geared up, but then he just wanted to watch everyone else. I said I would go first and after he saw that I wasn’t afraid – and survived – he was willing to try. First just a couple of feet up and then soon he was all the way at the top. I really felt at that point that he trusted us and knew we would always be there for him.
You also chose to support BBBS as a donor. Why is it important for you to give back both through volunteering and through financial gifts?
Steph: BBBS is a great organization and we see the positive work they do every time we have an event with other Bigs and Littles or read some of the stories about how matches maintain a special bond beyond their school years when they age out of the program. The time we give through volunteering brings joy to us and brings positive experiences to our Little. Financial gifts help support all of the great activities and support that Big Brothers Big Sisters Twin Cities provides to us throughout the year.