Every Friday, 3rd-grader Trey wolfs down his lunch as quickly as he can. That’s because his Big Brother, Gabe, visits him at school during lunch time, and Trey wants to have as much time to hang out as possible. “My favorite is when we play basketball in the gym, but I like everything we do together,” Trey says.
Around most people, Trey is quiet and doesn’t open up easily about things going on at school or at home. But he has a great relationship with Gabe. A year’s worth of weekly basketball games, board games and visits to the computer lab have helped this match grow close and learn from each other.
A recent basketball game illustrated just how good it is for Trey to have Gabe’s influence every week. After missing a few baskets in a row, Trey got discouraged and upset with himself. “A year ago, Trey would have been in a sour mood and maybe he would have disrupted class and gotten in trouble,” says Emily Bowman, Match Coordinator. But this time, Gabe helped Trey talk through his feelings. “He told me, ‘just try your best and the more you practice, the more you’ll get better,'” says Trey. They also chatted about the importance of not letting one bad thing ruin a whole day, turning a basketball game into a lesson about hard work, attitude and patience.
“It’s good for me, too, because I have to set a good example for Trey when we’re together,” says Gabe, a student at Concordia College. “We talk about following the rules at school so I’m learning how to follow my own rules, too.”
“Gabe is really cool and on a scale of one to 10, I would give him a 10!” says Trey.