Each month, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes one outstanding Big for a strong commitment to his or her Little and to our overall mentoring mission. Read about how these Bigs connect with their Littles, what they talk about with their matches and how they overcome challenges while growing in their mentor friendships.
Part of what encompasses being a ‘Big’ includes dedication and consistency, coupled with friendship and fun. These attributes are exemplified in the relationship between Jeff LaSota and his Little Brother Dean.
Celebrating one year this January since being matched, Jeff and Dean are regular participants at a variety of Big Brothers Big Sisters events. From attending agency activities such as the match picnic held at Minnehaha Falls this past summer, to their participation in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Middle School Engagement Team, Jeff has been by Dean’s side encouraging a wide variety of interests and opportunities.
In the latter half of 2008, Jeff found himself searching for an outlet where he could have the opportunity to connect with youth, and remembered being hearing about Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“I had heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters in the news and one day we had a presentation held at our office. The feeling of wanting to help and deciding where to do so just sort of festered, and I thought, ‘I’ve got the time and have always enjoyed kids and interacting with them, so why not?’”
Eventually matched with Dean last year, the two have found through their time together that the ‘Big’ is learning as much from the ‘Little’ and vice versa.
Says LaSota, “Dean really has taught me patience, how to be pro-active and how to make the best of situation that might not be ideal. Even something simple as being stuck in traffic, he finds a way to get past the bad side and find something good and worthwhile about it.”
Jeff also credits Dean with helping him step out of his comfort zone and make the most of their time.
“It isn’t often that a 30-year-old man is allowed to play laser tag without having to feel embarrassed,” LaSota says. “Whatever we do and however long we are together, it’s always fun and we always love trying new and different things.”