Bigs and Littles: a reciprocal relationship
The winners of Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year said the experience had enriched their lives as much as their “Littles”.
Kyle James, 33, added that the key to making a difference in a child’s life was making yourself available for them.
He explained: “You have this little person that you want to do so much for so fast, but you actually have to realise that it’s all about the relationship building.”
Mr James, who owns a drone-flying company, said that he joined BBBS four years ago after briefly volunteering as a mentor in the past.
He added that the first thing he did when he returned to Bermuda after working abroad was sign up as a Big Brother.
Mr James said: “I thought it was very scary when I first joined because there’s a level of trust that you need to build and I’ve always worried whether or not they’re going to accept me. As an adult that wants to make a difference, it was a bit nerve-racking thinking ‘what if they don’t accept me?’”
Mr James, from Hamilton Parish, was speaking after he and Bernadette Lawrence were named the Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year at ceremony at the BBBS Thank Your Mentor event at Hamilton City Hall on Thursday.
Mr James’s 13-year-old “Little”, Quilahn Richardson, added that his relationship with Mr James felt like it was “meant to be”.
He added: “Often Kyle calls me and we make plans to go out to eat, to the movies or just hang out.
“Sometimes he’ll take me to Outback at Flanagan’s to watch the Chelsea football games because we’re both Chelsea fans.”
Quilahn, a Dellwood Middle School pupil, said that his relationship with Mr James had also improved his performance at school.
He explained: “One time I had a science project for science and I was late telling him about it.
“But the thing is, he still helped me with it and it turned out well.”
Quilahn added: “My teacher said if I brought it in earlier I would’ve come first place, but I brought it in a little bit late so I came second.”
Ms Lawrence, 54, said that helping other people had always been a priority in her life.
She added: “I think that is the reason I became a police officer more than 30 years ago, initially in Barbados and then, for the past 12 years, as a member of the Bermuda Police Service.”
Ms Lawrence, from Hamilton, said that she worked with the Mirrors programme before she switched to BBBS four years ago and was paired with Amiyah Lake, now aged 12.
She added that she and Amiyah who was nine years old at the time, have been inseparable since.
Ms Lawrence said: “I just gravitated to her.”
Amiyah, also at Dellwood Middle School, said that Ms Lawrence spent a lot of time helping her with her timetables and spelling.
She added that her favourite thing to do with her Big Sister was to go on outings such as trips to the movies, the aquarium and afternoon walks.
Amiyah, from Hamilton, said: “One of my favourite outings with her was when she took me for a walk to the National Stadium. “I got to talk about how school was going and how I was feeling.”
She added: “She is a very good listener.”
Ayesha Lake, 39, Amiyah’s mother, said that Ms Lawrence had become a part of the family.
Ms Lake added that the presence of a Big Sister helped her as a single parent.
She said: “I appreciate her to the fullest extent. She’s really a part of the family.”
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