SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Match of the Month
Story and photo by Nancy Coggins


April 07, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - "Little Brother" Gabe feels special when his "Big Brother" Brian visits him in school for lunch and/or recess. Though matched for only a short time, after they had been acquainted for a couple of months, these two were off and running as though they had been "best friends forever." Brian greets Gabe, "Hey dude, what's up!" as he either shares a high-five with him or rubs his hair. Gabe glows.

jpg Match of the Month

Little Moments. Big Magic.
Brian & Gabe at Houghtaling Elementary School

Actions speak louder than words about their camaraderie. Whenever Brian goes to help another child, Gabe is looking for him. On the playground Brian makes sure Gabe tells him what activity he wants to switch to before he goes racing off, and they go together, walking hand in hand. Gabe is proud to hold Brian's hand while he's standing in line with his peers.

You guessed it, Gabe's favorite recess activity is swinging and then trying to make a basket, and he also loves finding potato bugs under rocks. The magic felt by Brian is "how to be a kid again." But Brian is the one with the knowledge of how important it is to do homework and get good grades, and he asks Gabe about them while he's pushing him on the swings!

Brian says, "I've learned how to talk to a little kid and make him interested in what he does every day so he has something to do." Brian asks Gabe a lot of questions to make him think. And he uses this perfect opportunity to reinforce Gabe's training of saying "please" and "thank you" with his friends. Also, he's working on what it means to share.

There's comfort in knowing what to expect. Near the end of their time together, Brian asks Gabe if he wants him to come the following week for lunch and recess? Then they have a detailed discussion. Keeping Gabe focused, Brian talks to his "Little Brother" as if he were an adult. At times, it's hard to believe Gabe is a kindergartener!

Two lucky people.

When Brian showed up at Gabe's birthday party at the bowling alley for ice cream and cake (and pizza), "Gabe lit up," said his mother. She continued, "I am thrilled there's a 'Big' out there for him -- when they are together, Gabe feels important and special."

Sound like Fun? Join the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. "Bigs" in the Ketchikan School Program meet with their "Littles" once a week, and they do whatever interests both of them.


On the Web:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Alaska


Nancy Coggins is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.

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