“i went to Walmart across the bay. I was checking out and had $123 worth of food in my basket. The cashier was ringing me up and I reached for my wallet. No wallet. She suspended my groceries and I ran to the car to get it. There was a couple behind me. She was pregnant. I apologized for making them wait. The cashier told me it is paid for and gave me the receipt. I told her I had money, it was just in the car. The couple behind me said it’s paid for, have a good day. I am not prejudiced, but I have to tell you they were white. There are still good people in this world. I cried like a crazy person.
The Big Brother Big Sister program has been the best thing for my family. I was going through a divorce and I needed some help with positive male role models in My son’s life because he was acting out. We were paired up with Darren and he went to school to see Roe several times. My son loved him but I had never met him. Darren asked to switch from being a school-based to activity-based Big Brother. He said he saw himself in Roe and wanted to spend more time with him. They played basketball and he took him to the Guitar Center to play the drums. Roe has been playing drums since he was three. Darren took Roe to do things he had never done before. Darren owns his own power washing company and taught Roe how to powerwash. Now Roe goes to work with him and gets paid. Darren suggested we put his money into a savings account for a year. and teach him to save. Darren is also teaching him how to be an entrepreneur and a successful young man.All I have to tell Roe I will call Darren and tell him and he will straighten up. Roe was seven when he started. He is eleven now. Darren is family.
I was a substitute teacher. I see so many kids who need this extra support and care. The kids act out because they need love and attention. Roe has matured so much. I haven’t received calls about behavior or to come get him. Darren’s family has adopted Roe, too. I have told other families about it and they have gotten their kids in Big Brothers Big Sisters. If you want to do something and love kids, become a Big. Just treat them well and give them love and support.
I want the best for my kids. I made a lot of mistakes in my life. But I want to teach my kids through the mistakes I made. I am thankful that other adults are there to be positive forces in their lives. Every child needs that.”
This is from Darren:
“Me and Rowe forget we are in the program. Which is probably not always the best perspective, but that’s how we’ve bonded. It’s not just he and I as a match, it’s our families. We invite each other’s families to events and stuff. We are happy to be a part of the program, but we don’t need coordinated activities for us to break the ice. I just want to be somebody consistent in his life, even after the program. Someone that he can look up to. I didn’t have that ‘I want to be like you when I grow’ up figure in my life. I want to be that for him. There are alot of things that he now knows how to do at his age that his friends don’t. He likes that..knowing things that people don’t, and knowing all about something. I just want him to have confidence and be his own man. Just knowing he has possibilities and that of the possibilities he does have, he has the power to do something with them.
I think when you look at kids, you see glimpses of things that they are really good at and not all of them are the same. You can see a really strong leadership skill in Rowe, but you can also see he wants to get away from it. He wants to blend in with his friends, and shies away from the responsibility. It’s hard for him to understand that he is naturally a leader. You know, not everyone is meant to be a leader, but he is. I see it in him, but he needs to see it. When he focuses on something, it’s an extremely intense focus. Like he has got to get it done. Nothing will get in his way. That is going to serve him so well when he gets older. He is driven by achievement. As he gets older, I really hope he embodies that characteristic, and takes it all the way. He’s going to be wildly successful at whatever he does in the future.”
Our Southern Souls is partnering with the United Way of Southwest Alabama to raise $50,000 to get at least 2,020 kids off partner agencies’ waiting lists and into the programs they need. This will be more kids getting a Big Brother or Big Sister or into the Boys and Girls Clubs. More kids getting weekend backpack meals or fed through Feeding the Gulf Coast. It will help expand the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Mobile County and provide free books for kids. It will provide shelter to a few more families with kids, and help a few more mothers with children get away from domestic violence.
To give, text “2020 Pledge” to 41444 or go to www.uwswa.org.