For Andrew, a Big Brother to 16-year-old Matt since August 2016, mentorship has been marked by a collection of moments. Moments ranging from buying him his first tie at Sears to sharing a laugh while in the Chick-fil-A drive-thru. “What I’ve found is there’s no need to be a superhero,” Andrew says. “The collection of little moments that we have shared together have been so formative.”
A Basketball Bond
Both Andrew and Matt are avid NBA fans. The sport has brought them together whether it be watching a professional game at Staples Center or playing a game of HORSE or a friendly free throw competition.
“The fun thing about competing against Matt is that he really wants me to try. He embraces the challenge,” Andrew says. “I’ve never taken it easy on him even once.”
But when Matt failed to make his school’s varsity team, the guidance and conversations he had with Andrew motivated him to keep playing. He’s since been active in several travel basketball leagues to develop his skills and if there is anyone who can attest to Matt’s growth, it’s Andrew.
“I used to win every time but nowadays he kicks my butt. It’s not even close,” Andrew said. “He’s got great interior moves and can get to the bucket. I’ve enjoyed showing him things like how to throw a frisbee or swing a golf club, but when it comes to basketball it’s mainly him teaching me now.”
Mentoring Off the Court
The teaching moments go beyond the court. What starts as a conversation about basketball may end in much deeper topics like the pressures Matt faces at school and at home. Sometimes, the best lessons take place over spicy chicken wings at their favorite spot, Buffalo Wild Wings.
Andrew always tries to offer any wisdom or guidance he can for his Little Brother.
“When you actually know where a person comes from and the circumstances they’ve been through, it changes the ball game. That has been the case for Matt and I,” Andrew said. “… There’s no mold or formula for the perfect mentor. The best ones are those who show up.”
Andrew joined the organization in August 2016. This year, he became head of the recruitment committee to help inspire others to join thousands of Big Brothers and Big Sisters throughout Orange County.