Mentoring Real Life Story: Nigel & Stevon
When Nigel Deen was matched with his Little Brother Stevon, he didn’t realize he’d not only be gaining a brother but also a lifelong friend. Deen shared his experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay at the 2015 BBBSMB Partners Breakfast at the Boston College Club. In his inspiring speech below, he described the program as “a very necessary mission.”
As a Harvard graduate who was looking for ways to give back, Nigel at first felt a little intimidated by BBBS, unsure if he could handle the responsibility of adding a Little. But his first meeting with Stevon dissolved that fear and now he shares his joy at getting to be a part of Stevon’s life forever.
Thank you to Big Brothers Big Sisters for giving me the opportunity to speak this morning; you are doing incredible work dedicated to a very necessary mission: helping children realize their potential and build their futures while strengthening communities.
I joined Big Brothers Big Sisters because I believe that the work we do will have a lasting impact on the community. Initially, I came up with every excuse not to volunteer my time — first school, then work, then “life” in general. I was sure that I wasn’t responsible enough — I still can’t say that I am — but I realize now that it doesn’t matter. The role of a Big Brother is to allow children to be just that, children — to provide a stress-free environment for Littles to be themselves. It is an unfortunate truth that not every child has this opportunity.
I’m forever grateful for my little brother, Stevon. He is funny, incredibly smart and holds an insatiable love for all sports. Before our first outing, I called him and asked what his favorite sport was because I planned on bringing whatever ball, bat, glove, etc., that I needed. He told me he liked every single sport. I asked him to be more specific and he said that he couldn’t, so I pulled together a softball bat, a glove, a soccer ball, a basketball and a football. We spent three hours playing and I asked for many water breaks.
When it was time to bring him home, he started to cry. It is a moment that will remain with me forever, as I realized how much the time meant to him. I told him that I would be back the next week; now we’ve been brothers for over a year. From trips to the Aquarium to watching Celtics games, I’ve had the opportunity to watch Stevon grow and to become a member of his extended family. I’ve spent time speaking with his mother, his teachers, his sisters and friends; he introduces me as his Big Brother and I can see that he is proud to be able to say that.
I am thankful to Big Brothers Big Sisters for bringing me into Stevon’s life. I am truly invested in his future and wellbeing. I care about his neighborhood because he is my brother. I care about the quality of his education because he is my brother. Stevon and I share no biological ties, but I care for him because he is my brother. It is a powerful bond and one that I know I will have for the rest of my life.
This organization creates bonds and provides access to opportunities that every child should have, but there is still much work to do. I’m a strong supporter of the #AddALittle campaign and believe it necessary to match every child on the wait list. Big Brothers Big Sisters has the ability to reach hearts and minds in our communities and to unite us all so that every child, in every school, in every neighborhood, may realize their potential.
— Big Brother Nigel Deen