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Meet A Match: Steve & Al

June 12, 2023, Katie Huynh

Big Brother Steve and Little Brother Al are a true testament to the impact another caring adult can have on a child’s life. 10-year old Al and his mother joined Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2018 seeking a positive male role model. Little did they know that Steve would be the one to step into their lives and make an everlasting impact.

Al, a spirited and knowledgeable boy, had an undeniable passion for sports. Football, baseball, hockey, and basketball were his realms of expertise. You could pick any athlete off the TV, and Al could tell you their name and entire sports career and background.

From the beginning, Al wanted a Big who would show up consistently and remain present in his life. When Steve and Al first met, Al recalls hoping their match would last beyond the one-year commitment. Their journey together started with a mutual love of sports and reached an impressive five-year milestone built upon a strong foundation of determination, support, and fun.

During the early days of their match, Steve learned that Al was told he would always need training wheels to ride a bike. Steve disagreed and together, the two practiced and persisted until one triumphant day, Al was able to ride his bike all on his own without training wheels. A story that proves their unwavering belief in each other’s potential.

Through the years, Steve and Al have shared many moments together. Steve’s favorite memory was when they watched the Vikings beat the Buffalo Bills despite facing a major setback. For Al, he recalls the thrill of attending his first Twins game in 2022 where they scored seats near the dugout. It was an unforgettable experience for the young sports enthusiast. The two make the most of free tickets to BBBS sporting events whenever possible. As Al grows older, his passion for sports has evolved into dreams of becoming a professional athlete or a sports broadcaster one day.

But their joy isn’t just limited to sports. Steve and Al also find simple pleasures in sharing cheeseburgers, with Culver’s being their go-to spot. One of their most memorable adventures was when Steve found a free, mobile basketball hoop while driving home one day and took to give it to Al, so he could play basketball at home. What was supposed to be an easy DIY project turned into a series of amusing incidents involving transport, snowplows, and gusty winds, causing the hoop to repeatedly break. The two tease about it being a never-ending project that always managed to capture their attention.

Their enduring connection did not go unnoticed. Their Match Engagement Coordinator, Rob Donahue, recognized the profound impact Steve and Al had on each other and nominated them for the prestigious 2022 Match of the Year award. Rob commends that Steve is an outstanding Big who models and imparts crucial life skills to Al that will empower him for a successful future. Harrison Smith, the Minnesota Vikings Safety, even surprised them with a video with his personal congratulations for winning the award, a gesture that Al will never forget.

Their match relationship, which began with hopeful expectations, shows its potential to grow beyond just a volunteer commitment. Al is now in high school playing football and basketball, and Steve continues to support him on and off the field. Al teases Steve that when he becomes an adult, he can one day treat his Big Brother to cheeseburgers instead.

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