Meet the Match: John and Marco

Marco couldn’t wait to watch his Big Brother, John, walk across the stage and receive his MBA.

For many, graduation is yet another milestone to celebrate—thunderous applause, a firm handshake from the dean, proud faces smiling up from the audience. But for youth in the crowd like Little Brother Marco, those moments take on a different significance.

That’s because Marco, and 74 percent of other youth in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, will become the first generation in their family to graduate high school. To see mentors they look up to like John achieve success through hard work and perseverance can be eye-opening. It’s an opportunity for them to realize high school graduation and college are within reach.

“I think he took away it’s a big deal,” John says. “I wanted him to be able to understand that it was a huge achievement to graduate from college and get your master’s degree. I don’t think either of his parents have gone to college. … I want him to know that going to college is … something he should strive for.”

Ever since Marco started school, numbers had come easy to him. He calculated equations with rapid speed and mastered the basics of addition and subtraction well before his classmates.

While Marco is gifted in math, he struggles to find motivation with his homework.

John sees Marco’s potential. A college admissions counselor, John drops facts about schools like UCLA as inspiration for Marco. He encourages Marco to think actively about his interests and potential careers such as engineering or finance that require a strong math skill set and work ethic.

“One of the first things I always ask him when we hang out is, ‘How is school going?’” John says. “I really try to emphasize how awesome it is that he is a member of the math club and how he bumped up from remedial English to his current grade level.”

When Marco reaches a milestones, John is there to celebrate with extra game tokens at Boomer’s or a trip to Disneyland.

“… He told me he was getting all 3s and 4s (As and Bs). I said if you keep this up, your reward for doing so well in school is … Disneyland,” John says. “When he told me he got all 3s and 4s, I was like ‘Alright! We’re going to Disneyland!’”

Join John in supporting youth like Marco to reach their full potential.

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