When you meet Tracy, Aaron and Walter, it doesn't take long to figure out they have what it takes to be a marvelous match. Their bond is genuine. They exude the kind of warmth that only exists where mutual respect and trust are present. Having been matched for about 18 months, Big Couple Tracy and Aaron describe their Little Brother Walter as "awesome" and freely admit how he has positively influenced their lives. Walter describes Tracy and Aaron as "double-good fun". He was expecting one Big but got two instead. Each person (Bigs and Little) brings perspective, strength and resilience -- valuable traits in every good relationship.
Walter is a typical fourth grader in many ways. He is energetic, inquisitive and curious. He enjoys school and wants to be an artist when he grows up. Yet, already he has been recognized for exhibiting exceptional behavior. Walter's school district has a CharacterPLUS Program and he has been selected as "Student of the Month" for exemplifying cooperation. Walter was selected because he "..works well with others.." He is the first to compliment someone in his group and he comes up with great ideas for sharing and taking turns." He is a student who shows real character in many ways. Walter (like a growing number of children) lives with his grandparents, Jim and Linda, and a younger brother (who is currently on the waiting list for a Big Brother). Walter has also undergone over 15 surgeries to correct a cleft lip and palate and will go through several more.
Big Brother Aaron spoke about the bravery Walter has shown throughout the surgeries and how he continues to take chances in experiencing new things. Big Sister Tracy says, "The process of being matched seemed scary at first because we were afraid of how boring we might be to a nine year old, but it has been a great match. Walter really brings the kid out in both of us." Linda and Jim (Walter's grandparents) think Tracy and Aaron are wonderful people who make a great Big Couple for Walter. Every day, they appreciate the positive effect this match has had on the whole family. They enrolled Walter in BBBS because they felt he needed outside stimulation and the time apart helps him and his brother appreciate each other more. Even during surgeries, Tracy and Aaron visit Walter in the hospital and bring by the kinds of treats he can enjoy. It's quite clear to these grandparents that Walter is thriving. Linda and Jim say that he is "maturing, getting more social and outgoing".
So what does a typical outing look like? Tracy and Aaron usually pick Walter up and make supper together at their house. Then they either play games (Monopoly is a big hit because Walter always wins) or work on a project around the house. Walter is now 11 and his eyes sparkled as he spoke of the exciting activities Tracy and Aaron have shared with him - - such as flying over the stadium complex, going to Oceans of Fun and the YMCA. This match also has the distinction of "breaking the record" for Wii Bowling at BBBSKC's Movie Night.
Tracy and Aaron summed up their hopes for Walter by saying, "we hope he never loses his confidence and upbeat attitude in the face of adversity. Whatever he chooses to do, his attitude will get him a long way". And when Walter was asked if he would be a Big when he was old enough, he replied, "absolutely!"
If you have a great story that you think should be shared, contact Kristi Hutchison at email@example.com.