Clearing the path to his biggest possible future: Faron & Mac’s story | Big Brothers Big Sisters Kansas City

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Clearing the path to his biggest possible future: Faron & Mac’s story

Faron McNeal learned about Big Brothers Big Sisters the same way that so many others do: through a friend.

“I had a friend who was a Big and really enjoyed it. At the time, I was turning 30, single, and didn’t have kids of my own, and I wanted to find a way to give back,” said Faron. “I had a family member who was about to be a single parent, and I realized how difficult that could be, and that there’s a lot of opportunity to be there for someone.”

In June of 2014, Faron was Matched with Malcolm (Mac).

New beginnings

When they first met — like nearly all new Matches — Faron and Mac felt a little awkward together.

“He had to be wondering, ‘Who’s this 30-year-old man going to hang out with an 8-year-old?’” said Faron. “He was pretty reserved at first, but that was okay. It wasn’t about what I wanted — it was about what he needed. For kids, you just have to be there, and they’ll tell you when they need you.”

For over 6 years now, Faron and Mac have loved hanging out and spending time together. Whether they’re running errands, doing yard work, bonding through music (Jimmi Hendrix is a mutual favorite), or just watching The Office, they both really enjoy one another’s company.

One of their most impactful experiences together was when Mac started looking for a new school.

“Searching for a new school was an interesting process because, at the end of the day, he’s not my kid, you know?” said Faron. “But I wanted to do whatever I could to support him. Through my job, I had made some connections that I thought could help Mac get where he wanted to go.”

One of Faron’s old clients happened to be an alum of Bishop Miege High School, and they were able to get Mac connected for an interview.

“Throughout the whole experience, there was this feeling of inequality when it came to access to education,” said Faron. “I know that he’s going to be capable of doing whatever he wants when he graduates, and I didn’t want him to be limited just by where he happened to grow up.”

More than anything, Mac was looking for a new environment and a fresh start.

“I didn’t realize how difficult the experience at his old school was for him until I saw his extensive record. He’s a great kid, but the school he was at just wasn’t working for him,” said Faron. “It’s hard to get out of your bad habits or routines, and if you’re never given a hand up, it can be really difficult.”

A fresh start

Together, Faron and Mac applied for financial assistance and scholarships, and Mac was able to get enough funding to start school at Bishop Miege this fall!

“At first, I was kind of scared because everyone there knew each other, and I was going to be the new kid,” said Mac. “But once I got to know my classes and meet new people, its been better.”

At Bishop Miege, Mac plans to join the wrestling team this winter and the football team next fall.

“Mac and I have talked about how he’ll probably have to work harder than others throughout his life,” said Faron. “But if he works harder, he will excel further. If he has that discipline and drive, he’ll be able to do anything he wants.”

Through their six years together, Faron has watched Mac grow in countless ways.

“He’s much more confident — more sure of himself, too,” said Faron. “I don’t know if I’ll ever have kids, but he’s definitely my Little Brother for life.”

For Mac, life has looked a lot different with Faron around.

“He’s helped me with my confidence and being able to talk in groups. I just feel better about myself in general,” said Mac. “He’s really kind and takes care of me. He’s always looking out for me.”