‘Hermandad’ makes a big difference
Hispanic Mentoring Program makes a big difference for Oscar and his grandmother.
Oscar had a very difficult childhood while living with an abusive mother, leaving him with more than physical scars. By the time his grandmother acquired legal custody of her grandson, his long history of emotional suffering had rendered him unable to speak.
Today, Oscar has begun the long process of healing. With the loving support of his grandmother, Maria, and the positive influence of Big Brother Jaime, Oscar faces his future with renewed optimism and a healthier self-esteem. Oscar’s grandmother first approached Big Brothers Big Sisters because her disability prevented her from being active with her grandson. She felt it was important for him to experience things she could not do with him herself. Since Oscar was first matched a year ago through BBBS’s Hispanic Mentoring Program, locally named “Hermandad,” which means Brotherhood/Sisterhood in Spanish, he has enjoyed a variety of activities with his Big Brother Jaime, including playing tennis, eating out, and going to the movie theater. For a time, he especially enjoyed visiting the science museum with his Big, but now he prefers bike-riding by the beach. Oscar’s grandmother says this positive presence in her grandson’s life has relieved the stress of making sure Oscar has someone to mentor him. “I feel extremely lucky to have Jaime as a role model for him,” said Maria. “Oscar enjoys their activities together, and he is now more focused in school.” Perhaps that is because Jaime helps his Little Brother with homework on almost every outing. According to his grandmother, this support has motivated Oscar to become more excited about school and earn excellent grades. For these reasons, Oscar’s grandmother says she feels blessed to be a part of the Hermandad program, which provides Latino Littles with mentors who can enrich their lives socially, academically and culturally. The mission of Hermandad is to help Hispanic children reach their potential through professionally supported relationships with a measurable impact. “Parents should take advantage of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ matching services,” Maria says,“because it helps youth stay positive even in the face of adversity.” For Oscar, the Hermandad program has provided an enduring friendship with a committed, intelligent role model. His grandmother suspects they will stay friends for quite some time. “He’s like family now,” she says. “They have a wonderful and great bond that would be very difficult to break.”