Michael Knapp, an architect at NSPJ Architects, grew up in and around Kansas City. While he was first introduced to Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2006 through Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the thought of becoming a Big didn’t cross his mind for many years.
In 2017, Michael took some time to look back on his life and upbringing, and he noticed a common theme: He had a strong, positive adult influence in his life along every step of the way.
“I realized that I wanted to be that person for someone else,” said Michael.
Soon after, Michael and David were officially matched.
Go on a hike, or ride a bike?
Little Brother David is not your typical soon-to-be 9-year-old.
“He’s bright, energetic, outgoing, friendly — and actually a pretty big family man, too,” said Michael. “He’s one of six, so he spends lots of time with his siblings, and his older sister has a Big Sister, too.”
Michael and David’s go-to place is the library. They love to cook, go to the park, and participate in free monthly workshops at Home Depot, too!
Earlier this year, Michael and David were brainstorming what new and fun things David could do with his time once school was out for the summer.
“The whole thing with the bike actually started out with a misunderstanding,” said Michael. “I had said, ‘Go on a hike!’ but he had heard, ‘Get a bike!’”
Soon after, Michael learned that David had never had a bike of his own.
He didn’t waste any time.
Michael reached out to his match support specialist for help, who connected him to Bike Walk KC.
Within a matter of days, Bike Walk KC sent Michael pictures of five different bikes that David could choose from. It wasn’t long before David was off and riding all by himself! Check out the photos and videos below to see for yourself!
‘It’s fun and rewarding — no question’
Michael, somewhat new to spending time with kids David’s age, was fascinated by what he was learning from David as they spent time together.
“At first, I was really just curious to find out what he knew about the world,” said Michael. “He seemed mature and confident — definitely acted older than his age.”
Overall, Michael says that his experience as a Big has been very eye-opening.
“I definitely see kids differently now. He often does things that are childlike, but in the very next moment will say something that sounds like a mature adult,” said Michael. “It’s shattered the idea for me that you are either a child or adult — he’s a very complex human being!”
As far as the future goes, Michael says there’s a lot of time outside in store for them. David wants to go camping together and hopes to become a strong swimmer.
“One of the things David is really good at is being willing to try new things — the thought of potentially failing never occurs to him,” said Michael. “His bravery inspires me and encourages me to have that same confidence in my own life.”