"You don't have to think about doing the right thing. If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking."
~ Maya Angelou

May 31, 2013

Being A Big...

by Daniel Jacob, MSW: Founder of Can You Hear Me?

Proud I am...  Being a Big (that's the term we use as big brothers or sisters who have the opportunity to positively impact a child for the better!) is by far one of the greatest decisions I've made http://www.bbbs.org.  Being a Big has rewarded me in so many wonderful ways, one of which transpired yesterday as I witnessed my little brother graduate from middle school, on his way to high school and beyond. So, today I am inspired to write and share a little bit more about my experience being a Big!

I met my little brother almost four years ago; I remember our first meeting quite well in that downtown Los Angeles office building, a grown man and young boy coming together for different reasons, but ultimately the same outcome. My little brother to be could barely look me in the eye, his body language clearly indicated that he had suffered before, let down and disappointed along the way, and his ability to trust had been fractured.  At this moment in time there was no doubt that I was exactly where I needed to be, wanted to be, and truly believed that in time my little brother would be able to lift his head up, look me in the eye, and show me his true self.

Over time and our visits together I was able to witness the kind, sensitive, and thoughtful young man I was beginning to understand and get to know. This in itself is not usually behavior that is rewarded when you are immersed into an at-risk environment, one that does not always recognize doing the right thing without thinking, even if it is coming from a young boy. Therefore, I was pleased to hear when his mother shared with me that the family was moving to a new neighborhood many miles away, an opportunity that would end up serving him well.  My little brother was now in a position to grow and develop in ways that would see him thrive, leaps and bounds.

His academic performance (and behavior) changed for the better, demonstrated by the grades he was now getting that far exceed his previous school years.  His participation in youth football (his passion is that game!) gave him a positive outlet while showcasing his athletic ability.  Sports has provided my little brother with a support system that lets him know that he is right where he needs to be, while giving him a great opportunity to be a positive role model to the many teammates that look up to him. His passion (and interest) raising and caring for his birds has helped him develop several positive attributes (i.e. responsibility, work ethic, compassion) that have served him well as he moves into adolescence. He always lends a hand to help his mother when asked upon, doing his best to model to his younger brother what it means to be respectful and responsible. The boy I met some time ago has become a young man, and it has been wonderful to watch his dreams and goals develop!

In life you are given opportunity, what you do with this opportunity will always be dependent on the choices one makes. I am truly happy that I made the choice to be involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and in turn my little brothers life. I have received much from this relationship, and I only hope that I have given back in return, as I will always strive to give him the support and guidance that he deserves. Being a Big always puts a smile on my face and strength in my heart.  I hope my sharing this week reaches you in that place and space that has you well, as you strive to help yourself while helping others in the process!


About Author

Daniel Jacob, MSW Email
Founder of Can You Hear Me? External Field Instructor at University of Southern California School of Social Work MSW@USC. Daniel has a Masters in Social Work (Families and Children Practice/School Social Work). He is currently nearing the completion of the LCSW testing process.
More about the man behind the mission ⇢

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