Throughout his young life, 12-year-old Taeyo has not always had the best relationship with men. But that all changed 2-years ago when he met his Big Brother, Ben.
So when he was first enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saint John, Taeyo was nervous. He was convinced he did not deserve a Big Brother.
“I was worried he would think I am annoying like my ex-step dad did, and I wasn’t sure if he would want to be my friend,” Taeyo says.
“But then I met Ben.”
Taeyo was matched with our own Ben O’Neill, Relationship and Development Officer with United Way Saint John Kings and Charlotte.
“Ben helps me realize that I am more than the bad things that have happened in my life, and that I deserve nice people in my life. Now, I am more confident. I am willing to try new things outside my comfort zone and I am more involved in my community,” Taeyo says.
“He’s helped me get into acting classes, and leadership programs with the Boys & Girls Club, and he always challenges me to be the best I can be.”
For Ben, too, this has been a richly rewarding relationship and experience.
“He equally supports me. Together, we work hard at that – no matter what, we’re each going to be in each other’s corner,” says Ben, who signed up to be a Big Brother to honour his late grandfather, who was deeply committed to giving back to the community.
A foundation of the trust they are building together is built on their “pinky promises” to each other.
“When I asked Ben to promise to be my brother for the next 92 years, he didn’t hesitate at all,” Taeyo says. “Now, I have a brother forever! I am thankful to have Ben in my life, and I love having my Big Brother, and I love that he loves and supports me.”
To fuel transformative relationships like the one between Ben and Taeyo, to support United Way partners like Big Brothers Big Sisters, give your enduring gift today.