Out of nearly 5,500 applicants, Little Brother Adam and his Big Brother, Barry Casey, made it in the top 10. The category: Father of the Year. “I don’t know what my life would be like if I didn’t have Barry in it,” Adam’s award-winning essay reads. “He’s been my Big Brother for five years now! He hasn’t given up on me yet…He really understands me…I can take almost any problem to him. He is like a father to me.”
Adam’s essay won for the 6th grade, so the two were invited to attend the Celebration of Fatherhood Awards Ceremony on June 10th, were considered as a finalist for the grand prize, and even got to attend a Royals game. The special night was one of the most memorable times Barry and Adam have shared.
Adam’s mom, Danielle, believes that Barry and Adam were a perfect match from the beginning. “I counted the years and the months until I could call to have Adam matched with a Big Brother,” she said. Around the time Adam was old enough to enter the program, Barry was applying to be a Big. The timing was perfect. “I believe they were meant to be together,” Danielle stated. “Barry is like Adam’s guardian angel.”
When Adam was offered the chance to write about ‘Father of the Year,’ Danielle admits that she was a little upset. She felt that no one ever thought about the children who don’t have fathers involved in their lives. “But Adam never thought about the father he doesn’t have,” said Danielle. “Instead, he thought about Barry and how much Barry fulfills that void in his life. I was surprised and very proud of my son to know that he has matured beyond the thoughts of ‘I’m different because I don’t have a dad.’ ”
The essay made Barry pretty proud, too. But it wasn’t anything he hadn’t heard before. “Adam always tells me how much I mean to him and that he doesn’t know what his life would be like without me,” Barry said. “He never lets me question my impact on him.”
A typical outing for the match always involves just doing everyday stuff, hanging out and talking. “I don’t have to be doing anything special with Adam to have a great time, because he is so special himself,” said Barry. At first, however, Barry thought that there wouldn’t be anything to talk about or that they wouldn’t have anything in common. Now, Barry admits that he couldn’t have been more wrong. “Adam and I have a special bond because we understand each other. I never feel bored or uncomfortable around him.”
The two especially look forward to the BBBS Halloween party, planning months in advance what their costumes will be. “It’s only July, but they have both talked to me about what they are designing with the hopes that I’ll be able to sew it together for them to wear this year,” said Danielle.
Besides excitement over costumes, Danielle witnesses firsthand how much Adam looks forward to seeing Barry and telling him news. “When I make plans, Adam is very careful to remind me that a certain day is for him and Barry,” she said. “Sometimes Adam will come home from school with a worried look on his face. When I ask him what has happened he’ll tell me it’s a ‘boy thing’ that he needs to talk to Barry about.”
Likewise, when Adam finds something new that he wants to try, he always turns to Barry for instruction and guidance. Danielle says Barry always shows Adam just as much enthusiasm over “something new” as her son has. “It takes someone very special and caring to be able to do this,” she said.
Danielle’s unique perspective as a parent in the program may provide some encouragement to Bigs. “I’d venture to guess that most Bigs aren’t fully aware of how much the little things they do can help shape the Little they are bonding with,” she said. “Adam always has someone to cry with him, hold his hand, applaud him, laugh with him and glow for him as long as Barry is around.”
Indeed, Adam’s self confidence has “soared” since becoming matched, according to his mom. As “Adam is growing into a very reliable, self assured young man with Barry cheering him along the sidelines,” Danielle said. Adam himself tells us, “Having Barry in my life has made me a better person.”
Big Brother Barry wants everyone to know what a difference this experience has made in his life, as well. “I would tell others to continue being themselves and to always make sure your Little knows that you care about them and that you will always be there for them,” he said. Adam weighed in, too. He says, “People should join BBBS because it lets you spend time with somebody who is like you.”
Adam and Barry, congrats on all that you’ve shared and we’ll see you at Halloween!