Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Midlands (BBBSM) provides quality one-to-one mentoring relationships for youth in our community who need it the most. With a specific focus on youth ages 7 - 21 years old, our program is evidence-based. Our youth live in a single-parent household, are in foster care or other out-of-home placement, are low income, have a parent incarcerated, or any combination of these factors. We recruit, screen, train, match, monitor, and support adult volunteers as one-to-one mentors for youth. The youth (Little) and mentor (Big) meet in the community 2 to 4 times a month and spend time doing activities they both enjoy.
During the summer of 2011, Susan, Alex’s mom, came to BBBSM because Alex lacked a positive male role model and lived in an all-female household. After eight long months of waiting, Alex finally met Will. “Early on in our relationship, our favorite hobby was just shooting a basketball around in a driveway, talking about things and getting to know each other (trying to put aside our differences when it came to our favorite sports teams),” Will said. A few years later, Will and Laura got married and wanted to become a Big Couple, so Alex welcomed Laura into his life. Their relationship has been filled with fun, acceptance, support, perspective, and change. Over the years, Will and Laura attended a significant number of Alex’s sports games. Will enjoyed those times. “It was always fun to cheer for him, and to see how he grew and developed as an athlete and a teammate.” Ice cream, dinner, or conversation usually followed.
Alex is one of 24 Littles who graduated from high school in 2019. All 24 of them had a solid relationship with their Bigs. Susan shared that Alex has “matured emotionally as well as physically. He's less angry and more willing to show emotion.” Will said he watched Alex “transform from a shy, quiet kid into a very outgoing and polite young man.” Alex’s story isn’t over yet. He recently earned both his Iowa and Nebraska real estate licenses and is working in real estate while he completes his college studies. He attends Iowa Western Community College and is studying business and marketing. No matter what life brings him, Will and Laura both hope that he finds happiness in whatever he chooses to do.