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Big Brother Jordan Turns Doubt into Dedication as a Volunteer Mentor for Little Brother Phelix

March 18, 2024, Katie Huynh

Jordan had long considered volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, inspired by friends’ positive experiences during college. However, doubts lingered. “I didn’t have any younger siblings growing up,” Jordan reflected, “just one older sister. I also didn’t have much experience working with young kids and wondered if I would make a good Big Brother.”

In 2020, despite the hesitation, Jordan finally took the leap of faith and signed up as a Big Brother. This decision sparked the start of an impactful match relationship with his Little Brother, Phelix. Like any new match, the two started off shy and took time to get to know each other and develop shared interests together over time. 

Before becoming a Big, Jordan thought, “I’m going to have to plan and do all of these kids’ activities by myself, but it didn’t turn out to be true.” Jordan highlights the holistic match support with check-ins, resources, events, and tickets provided by BBBS staff that allowed flexibility and ease in creating meaningful experiences with Phelix.

Jordan witnessed Phelix opening up more to him as time went on. “He became more outgoing, more vulnerable with sharing personal stories and experiences,” Jordan noted. But the growth wasn’t one-sided. Jordan saw himself learning to be more patient, finding a balance between activities Phelix enjoyed and ones that brought him joy too. 

Jordan had support from Phelix’s family too. Tyson, Phelix’s younger brother, also had a Big Brother through the program, and the four of them would often spend time together like an extended family. One of Jordan’s fondest memories was Phelix trying rock climbing, even though he was afraid of heights. His willingness to try new things showed Jordan the care and trust his Little Brother had in him. 

For three and a half years, Jordan and Phelix could be found anywhere from corn fields to the snowy slopes of Buck Hill, sharing quality time and new experiences. Phelix shared that it was also his first time seeing a waterfall when they visited Willow River State Park!

As Phelix grew older and circumstances changed, they noticed each other drifting apart. Their interests slowly diverged, Phelix’s family moved farther away, and availability became difficult with their schedules. For these reasons, they came to a mutual understanding and decided to end their match in August 2023.

Match closures may be seen as a taboo, as if it’s a failure, but that’s not true. Jordan and Phelix’s match story achieved exactly what we all hope for in any mentoring relationship: showing up for each other, mutual growth, and sharing new experiences. Their positive experience shows that even if a match lasts one year or 20 years, it’s the impact that is everlasting. 

Bigs and Littles are asked to commit to one year, and Jordan and Phelix tripled that with 3.5 years. That’s a huge win already. Reflecting on his time as a Big Brother, Jordan shared some wisdom for those on the fence about volunteering as a youth mentor. “You’ll get out of it what you put into it,” he emphasized. “It’s a mutual experience, and the opportunities are endless. BBBS is one of the better organizations I’ve volunteered with and they make it fun and flexible.” 

Are you inspired by Jordan and Phelix’s story? You can become part of an impactful relationship like theirs. Get started at our Volunteer page or Enroll a Child page.