Nothing can turn-around a young life quite like mentoring. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada -- is celebrating national mentoring month and their 1000th match in January.
As the 1-thousandth match, Big Brother Mike, and his Little Brother Excell represent a mile-post for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. But in most ways they are pretty typical.
"Our mentors aren't necessarily heros, they're normal people who just are willing to take the time and spend time with the child," says Cerigwyn Parsons, the Vice President of Program Services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada.
Excell's dad died almost 2 years ago... Leaving Excell's mother with 5 kids.
"What she needed was someone who could kind of give her some support," says Parsons.
And that's when mike came into their lives.
"You don't have to necessarily be a teacher or a father type figure, you just have to be a friend...and sometimes we can go out to dinner, or to a fun activity, and sometimes you just hang out," says Michael, Excell's Big Brother.
Mike is in law enforcement, and is a busy guy. I asked him how he finds the time to be a mentor.
"I don't know to be honest with you, 'cause I just try and juggle between work, and my social life, and you know, so he's actually become a priority, because I was coaching sports, and then coming to visit with him, spending time with Excell," adds Michael.
With so many siblings at home, Excell says the best thing about having Mike as a Big Brother is:
"...Getting away from my brothers and sisters."
Through a one-on-one relationship like this, Big Brothers Big Sisters is changing lives.
"Their behavior improves, they're less disruptive, and they learn how to relate to adults, they learn how to function in society... And their self-esteem is raised," says Parsons.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is celebrating National Mentoring Month in January. They ask you to spend just 4 hours a month with a child for one year.
If you'd like to volunteer as a mentor to a child who needs a friend. Call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Nevada at 731-2727.