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Buffalo Strong: 'Big' Brother empowering potential within his 'Little'

'Big' Brother Niko and his 'Little' Gavin.jpg
Posted at 5:44 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-28 10:17:07-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Every we are highlighting tangible ways that you can help make a difference in Western New York, through local non-profits that are looking for volunteers.

This series continues with a focus on Big Brothers Big Sisters and a pair from who was matched one year ago, to share how one can make an impact and empower potential in a child.

One year ago, Gavin joined "Big Brothers Big Sisters" in the hopes of making a friend, and having an older, male mentor in his life.

"I usually get lonely sometimes when I'm at home because I don't have anyone to hang out with because I don't have a brother or sister," Gavin said. It's been better and my mom has been happy too because she also likes to talk to him. I like to do fun things like go to Urban Airs. He set a goal for me if I got a good grade for this last trimester, we would be able to go to a fun place."

Now, that wish has come true, thanks to his "Big Brother" Niko.

"I think I've made quite an impact on Gavin. His grades have gone up, his personality has gone up. He's a bit more cheerful. He's a lot more curious than when we first got matched," Niko said.

Gavin's mom says this was his best academic year so far, adding that her son is better prepared to face life's obstacles thanks to Niko's guidance.

"I was looking for a volunteer opportunity within Western New York and an acquaintance of mine actually a Big Brother in the program told me about it. When I was researching the program, I realized I had a bunch of different male role models in my life that had so much impact on me. I realized this program that this program is the perfect opportunity for me to do that to someone else," Niko said.

Niko said becoming a Big Brother is not much of a commitment.

He talks on the phone with Niko about once a week, and hangs out with him twice a month.

"He actually made me realize you know, I would want to be a dad someday. If this is a practice run, it is really rewarding to watch him grow and see the difference I have made. It's just heartwarming sometimes," Niko said.

How to Become a Big:

  • A requirement to commit for a minimum of one year from the match date with a "Little".
  • "Bigs" and "Littles" are encouraged to share everyday activities that focus on building a friendship and having fun while developing interests, skills and feelings of self-accomplishment.
  • Bigs are required to see their "Little" at least 2 to 3 times per month, for a few hours each time.
  • A Big must be at least 18 years old.

Right now in the Buffalo Strong section of wkbw.com, you will find a list with contact information for more than a dozen organizations in the city looking for volunteers to "get involved".