Every year we invite staff members, parents, teachers, children and fellow volunteers to nominate Bigs who have demonstrated extraordinary measures of dedication to their Littles and our agency’s mission. We honor one Big Sister and one Big Brother from both the School-based and Community-based Programs, as well as one High School volunteer, as Bigs of the Year. For the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting this year’s honorees and sharing with you their stories—enjoy!
Today we honor our School-based Program’s Big Brother of the Year, Frank Broderick.
When Frank Broderick and his Little Brother Sonny were matched through the school-based program, Sonny was shy and not very talkative. He didn’t reveal much about his personal life, so Frank was careful not to pry.
Fast-forward three years later and, although still somewhat shy, Frank has really seen Sonny come out of his shell. “He talks three or four times more now than when we first met!” says Frank.
As the two began to click more, Sonny began opening up to Frank about his hopes for the future. He told his Big Brother he wants to attend culinary school, a goal Frank hopes he pursues. “I want to go to Le Cordon Bleu and become a chef,” says Sonny, “and Frank is encouraging me to start my own business.”
In addition to supporting Sonny’s long-term dreams, Frank is also always dependable and consistent when scheduling times to hang out with his Little Brother. The two have developed a great routine and often play cards or Scrabble together. Frank is currently teaching Sonny cribbage and says, “When Sonny beats me in a game, his face lights up.”
Frank has also created a richer mentoring experience by helping link Sonny to his Native American heritage. With a personal interest and knowledge of Native culture, he often brings books and artifacts to show Sonny, telling him stories about his own personal experiences. “My favorite thing about Frank is that he knows about people from the Native culture who were famous in history, and he tells me all about it,” says Sonny.
This Big Brother is not only a constant in his Little Brother’s life—he has also built relationships with Sonny’s teachers. “I’m personally invested in his success,” says Frank, “so I like to check in and see how Sonny’s doing in school.”
Frank personally understands the value of this type of relationship. He missed having a male mentor in his own life because his father passed away when Frank was just ten. He really strives to provide just the right balance of fun and support for his Little Brother, something Sonny appreciates. “I feel happy when I am with Frank.”