Andrew and Luis have made a lot of memories.
Andrew’s childhood experiences led him to Big Brothers Big Sisters—he knows firsthand what an incredible impact having a mentor can make for a child, having been in those shoes himself. Raised by a single mother, Andrew’s baseball and football coaches were his only male role models. Their influence fueled his desire to pay it forward and become a mentor.
Andrew began volunteering in 2014 as a mentor to Luis. Luis, now age 10, came to Big Brothers Big Sisters through the GRIP (Gang Reduction & Intervention Partnership) program after telling police officers he was getting into physical fights at school because he didn’t have a father to defend him.
Andrew is actively involved in helping Luis at school, including going on field trips and helping him complete his homework on-time.
“He teaches me about being respectful and not to get in fights and to always remember to raise my hand,” said Luis. “He cares about me and makes me feel happy.”
With Andrew in his life, Luis has someone to help him work through his aggression and channel his excess energy into positive pursuits, such as learning new sports, going to trampoline parks and watching movies. As a result of Andrew’s involvement, Luis no longer gets in fights at school and has overcome his fear of baseball.
“From high school graduation and the first day of college to when he starts a family of his own, I will always be there for Luis,” Andrew said. “This is just the start of a lifelong friendship.”
Big Brother of the Year 2018: Andrew Suarez
Little Brother: Luis
Match date: 11/12/2014
In addition to mentoring Luis, Andrew is a founding member of the newly established LEADing Big auxiliary group that fundraises on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters and chairs the agency’s volunteer-led recruitment committee.