Jen and Greg moved to Kansas City from Toronto about a year and a half ago.
“When we moved here, we were looking for a way to meet people and make an impact,” said Jen. “We had a few friends who had connections to BBBS back in Canada, so we wanted to look into it once we got settled in.”
Since they didn’t yet have any kids of their own, Jen and Greg thought volunteering with BBBS could be a great way to get to know their new community and give back at the same time.
“When I was growing up, one of my best friends had a Big Brother,” said Greg. “They’re still friends to this day. I remember his Big really well — they had a really great relationship.”
At BBBSKC, they found a perfect way to not only volunteer, but volunteer together: They decided to become a Big Couple!
A Big Couple is a pair of Bigs who are in a long-term relationship and want to be matched together to the same Little Brother. Becoming a Big Couple is a great way for couples that would prefer a shared experience as opposed to each of them having their own Little.
Jen and Greg signed up to become a Big Couple and were officially matched in August 2018.
The Big Couple experience
Jen and Greg’s Little Brother, Terrion, joined the BBBSKC program as soon as he turned 8.
“When we first met him, he was a little shy and nervous. On paper, he definitely came across as more of an introvert,” said Jen. “We quickly found out, though, that with one-on-one attention, he really flourishes. He’s on the artsy side, too — loves dancing, drawing, acting — just being creative in general.”
“As two people who love a good living room dance party, we knew this was going to be a good match.”
Through their time with Terrion, Jen and Greg have gotten to see Terrion’s full potential flourish.
“When we go to places like the Nelson-Atkins museum, he really focuses in and just soaks up the experience,” said Greg. “He tends to really open up when he gets to embrace the creative part of his life.”
As a Big Couple, Jen and Greg get to make lifelong memories with Terrion together.
“When you’re getting to know someone, it’s always a little bit better if there’s two people instead of one. For instance, if one person’s driving, the other person can do the entertaining!” said Greg. “For us, he really appreciates the banter that we have. It’s pretty cool — at just 8 years old, he gets things like sarcasm. He remembers everything you say, too.”
While they’ve only been matched for a little under a year, they’ve already had plenty of opportunities to try new fun things together.
“Figuring out what his interests are and where we could add value to help him explore things he might otherwise not explore has been a cool experience,” said Greg. “Whether it’s music, art, or crafts — whatever that interest is, it’s really fun to try those new things with him.”
You could be a Big Couple, too
Friendships between Bigs and Littles can become incredibly meaningful, and Jen & Greg’s relationship with Terrion is no exception.
“One time in the car, he said to us, ‘I’m happy to go home to my grandma, but I wish I could stay longer with you guys,’” said Greg. “We just looked at each other and thought, that’s perfect — he’s genuinely enjoying his time with us.”
Looking back, Jen and Greg have no doubt that becoming a Big Couple was the right decision for them.
“Doing it as a couple has been a really great experience,” said Jen. “If you want kids in the future, it could potentially be a great way to spend time with your Little and learn how you interact with kids and how you deal with certain situations.”
“Some people may think it’s a scary undertaking or too big of a commitment to become a Big, but it really isn’t,” said Greg. “It’s once a week, and it’s something that you really look forward to. It’s really flexible, too — some weeks we’re with him for 4 or 5 hours, and others it’s just a quick hour or two together.”
“We’ve gotten to experience some of the big reasons for why the organization exists,” said Greg. “Terrion is full of potential, but the opportunity to realize that potential might not always be there. He’s got a loving family, and we get to add to that by helping him ignite his full potential by opening doors to new experiences.”
Interested in learning more about becoming a Big Couple? Visit our Be a Big page for more information. Check out some of Jen and Greg’s photos below from some of their favorite outings with Terrion!