Alejandro & Matthew
The death of a parent is one of the most difficult experiences a family can ever go through. Now imagine that you’re an only child, and you lose your Dad at the age of 4. You barely have the chance to get to know the one male figure in your life, and then he’s gone. For Matthew, this was reality. For 8 years of his life, he was raised by his busy single mother. With no siblings, and no father around, Matthew struggled to develop many of the same social skills of his peers. He was shy. He never really opened up to his friends or family. And as he got older, it became more difficult for him to cope with anger. Even worse, Matthew had a very creative mind for a child his age, and no one to help him harness that creativity to its full potential.
As Matthew entered 7th grade, his Mother Cheryl grew concerned about the lack of a male figure in his life. Middle school can be one of the most difficult times in life for a boy, and Cheryl realized that Matthew was struggling to connect with his classmates. She reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters, with the hope that a Big Brother could ignite the potential Matthew had inside.
“I feel like there’s one more person in my life now who actually cares about me.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters matched Matthew with Alejandro, a high school teacher and coach, getting set to retire after 31 years. Alejandro knew that because of his passion for working with kids, he couldn’t just walk away from being an educator. He decided to use his passion to become a Big Brother, and took on the challenge of helping Matthew come out of his shell.
Alejandro recalled that the first couple of times that he and Matthew met were challenging. Matthew was very shy. Small inconveniences would set Matthew off. But Alejandro was no stranger to working with young people. Despite Matthew’s shyness, Alejandro saw a person who was creative, but never felt comfortable expressing himself to others. Alejandro was patient with Matthew. When something would spark Matthew’s interest, Alejandro would make an effort to learn more about it. When Matthew would get angry, Alejandro would sit down with him, find out what was bothering him, and encouraged him to open up. Alejandro embraced Matthew’s personality, and Matthew began opening to him more and more.
Three years later, Alejandro and Matthew have many great memories together. They fondly recall the times they spent playing video games, seeing the latest superhero movies, and even the time they got to attend a Saginaw Spirit game in a limo! Alejandro also noted that Matthew began opening up more, not just with him, but with his peers. Matthew began making more friends in school, he became more self-confident, became more proactive than reactive, and learned to embrace his creative personality. “I feel like there’s one more person in my life now who actually cares about me,” Matthew said. “Thank you Alejandro for inspiring me!”
Matthew and Alejandro look forward to continuing their friendship as Matthew faces the challenges of high school. Alejandro challenged Matthew to start thinking about how he can turn his interests in to a rewarding career, and Matthew now has plans to pursue his talents as a video game story developer. Matthew even said he might consider becoming a Big Brother himself one day, and igniting the potential of another young man who just needs someone to be there, and to embrace the person he is.
Invest in Potential
Help us create more life changing matches like Alejandro and Matthew’s. When you invest in Big Brothers Big Sisters, you change the lives of at-risk youth in your community. Potential starts with you and your gift.
Invest in Potential
Help us create more life changing matches like Alejandro & Matthew’s. When you invest in Big Brothers Big Sisters, you change the lives of at-risk youth in your community. Potential starts with you and your gift.