Since 1977, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a difference in Forsyth County, and I have been right there with them since 1982, when as a young law student at Wake Forest, I decided to become a Big Brother. I had no idea what an impact it would leave on me!
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, which pairs big ‘siblings’ with little ‘siblings’ to foster relationships to improve the lives of young people. This gives them the foundation and confidence to lead successful lives. The program helps connect the community across socioeconomic, racial, and age barriers to enrich the lives of young people. Big Brothers Big Sisters focuses on the importance of mentoring, and I am proud to be a part of it.
A friend and I started a program to connect law students with Big Brothers Big Sisters. I was paired with a young man named Chuck Lewis. The cool thing is that we are still together after 40 years! We are told that this is the longest running continuous relationship in the history of the program.
When we first met, Chuck was in fifth grade, and at a critical point in his life. His mother raised Chuck on her own and thought it would be great to have a male influence in his life, and I was lucky enough to be paired with him! We truly have a Big Brother/Little Brother relationship that has continued all these years. The relationship is a whole lot more than making home-made pizza, going for hikes, and wrestling in his mom’s living room… it is a two-way relationship in which BOTH lives are changed for the better, and – as we say in unison – FOREVER!
As I continue to cherish our ongoing relationship, I also reflect on how fortunate I have been to have this experience. There is no question this experience has changed me for the better, because it provides me with perspective and compassion for people that continues to be a driving force in my life today.
If you want to get involved with an amazing young person here in our community, I cannot recommend Big Brothers Big Sisters enough. All you need is a giving, caring heart, and a little spare time to invest in the future leaders of our community.
Love you Chuck!!