Reflections from a Case Manager | Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City

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Reflections from a Case Manager

It takes me back to the time I sat at my desk with the exciting and so important task of finding the “just right” child for a volunteer to mentor. It takes me back to a mother’s excited reaction when I get to tell her that I’ve found a Big Brother or Big Sister for her child. It takes me back to pulling my car up to a child’s home to find that child waiting at the door or peeking out of the front window on the day of their match meeting.

As I sit here and begin my blog entry, I realize why I’ve procrastinated so long to begin putting words on paper.  My task was to tell you about one of my most memorable matches. 

So, I’ve put weeks of thought into picking a match to highlight here.  I close my eyes and countless matches flood my mind.  Nearly 5 years of match meetings, of monthly check-ins, seeing adorable pictures of matches on social media and getting to see them at the many wonderful match activities that Big Brothers Big Sisters holds for our matches. One match will pop into my mind and it takes me back.  It takes me back to the time I sat at my desk with the exciting and so important task of finding the “just right” child for a volunteer to mentor.   It takes me back to a mother’s excited reaction when I get to tell her that I’ve found a Big Brother or Big Sister for her child.  It takes me back to pulling my car up to a child’s home to find that child waiting at the door or peeking out of the front window on the day of their match meeting.  Is he nervous, excited, scared…for I’ve just arrived at their home to introduce that child to a stranger.  They don’t know it yet, but I know that this person has the potential to be a life changer for that child.  I always remind myself that this is a child.  A wide eyed child, who has faced challenges that many of us cannot fathom.  A child whose parent reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters and took a leap of faith that a mentor would add value to the life of their child.  A child who is receiving of this idea that an adult, who is a total stranger to them, has made the selfless decision to give of their time, their talents, their energy and their love to this child.  As we go through the “boring” paperwork, I notice every time that this youngster is stealing glances of their new “Big”, sizing him up, looking at her hair, and smiling…so much smiling!

My mind then takes me on the journey of that match. I remember their successes, their struggles and so many “firsts” that these friends experience. I remember them thinking of me on their match anniversary and sending me a thank you card, tagging me in a goofy post, sending me a picture of them doing something fun. I watch them as the years pass…the “Little” grows taller than their “Big”, volunteers get married, children are added to the mix, graduations, jobs, loss and joy all occur as they do life together. It often amazes me that two lives, two people can collide through a series of choices and they can build a friendship…because they want to! The choice of a caring Kansas Citian to use their time to invest in the life of a child who they never would have crossed paths with, the choice of a parent to enroll their child, and the choice of a Case Manager to place them in each other’s paths. The process amazes me. I believe in it and I’ve had the honor of creating countless friendships over the years. You ask me to tell you about my most memorable match and it’s like asking me which one of my children is my favorite. I just cannot choose. Every single match, every single child, every picture I see, every hug I receive. The memories they build together and the fact that I get to be a part of their journey, that is an honor I will always cherish.

Tami Carolan, Case Manager/ACES Partner Manager
Tami Carolan, Case Manager/ACES Partner Manager