Fayetteville, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — When the pandemic first hit, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas had trouble enrolling new big brothers, but things have really shifted since then.
Brenden Ramirez and Isaac Weaver have been brothers for about three years.
“It means that he’s there for me when times are rough and times when I need him,” Little Brother Ramirez said.
“I had no idea the impact it was going to have on me and it’s been incredible,” his Big, Isaac Weaver said.
Matched up through Big Brothers Big Sisters, the two regularly get together in Siloam Springs to play basketball and talk about sports.
“It’s really good bonding time, good relationship. I have someone I can trust when he’s there,” Ramirez said.
Bonds like this are being formed at a record pace in Northwest Arkansas.
“We have already made over 85 matches and we are on track to make 100 new matches in 2020,” BBBS of Northwest Arkansas Community Engagement Manager Jennifer Janda said.
While the pandemic forced shutdowns, more people were eager to get involved.
“A lot of parents are like, man, they need somebody in their corner. We’ve been socially isolated for so long, they need a friend,” Janda said.
“This past year more so than others has just been crazy and if you’re looking to have an impact on someone else, you’d be surprised at the impact it has on you when you’re doing it. I think the best way you can possibly spend your time is to invest in others,” Weaver said.
But BBBS needs more mentors in Siloam Springs to make that investment just like Weaver.
“When you don’t have an older brother or sister figure in your life, that’s a special relationship that I think everyone needs to some degree, and I think that if you’ve had that your whole life it’s a blessing and you maybe not have realized it, but I think when that absence is there, it’s felt,” Weaver said.
To see all the ways you can get involved, click here.