Jim and Jayne Thorne know the power of mentoring and the doors it can open. Giving thoughtful one-on-one time through guidance, eating lots of ice cream, and discussing life experiences are just some of the acts of mentoring they have been able to provide to their Little Brother, Damon.
Big Couple Jim & Jayne Thorne with their Little Brother Damon
In 2002, Jim’s daughter and son-in-law sent a photo of the two of them with their Little Brother and narrated some of the stories they shared as a Big Couple match. “While we knew about Big Brothers and Big Sisters, we hadn’t heard about the Big Couple option. Their stories planted a seed that lead us to where we are today,” recalls Jayne. “After I checked with Jim on his thoughts to commit to this type of mentoring, we were off.”
The Big Brothers Big Sisters application and process was thorough, yet simple for Jim and Jayne to determine that they had indeed found their calling. Through extensive work with a local church group, they knew education and mentoring were key elements to making a difference in someone’s life. They knew they could commit to helping guide someone through their life by using their own experiences as their handbook.
“You wonder what you’re getting into at first, and thoughts like, “Who would ever want us as their Bigs?” run rampant as you get closer to your match date,” said Jim. Jim and Jayne soon learned their age gap and differences didn’t matter – what really mattered is that you devote time and attention to each other and let a relationship grow.
Their connection grew through many paths, including a fishing trip. Jim retells the story, “A few Bigs and their Littles decided to go on a fishing trip; a first for all of the Littles. When one of the Littles cast their lure into the lake, they accidently pitched the entire rod into the lake! Luckily, another Little a few minutes later “caught” the rod and brought it back ashore.”
In another route, cooking became a favorite experience for Jayne, and yet another opportunity to teach and mentor Damon in measuring and monitoring his work, and of course, tasting the final product. Damon also became an entrepreneur under the Thorne’s support by shoveling snow, doing yard work, and helping their neighbors – chores he completed that led to financial lessons from Jim and Jayne.
Time with Damon flew by that first year and reminded Jim and Jayne of spending time with their children, with a twist. You see, Jim and Jayne had four girls and spending time with a ten year-old boy was a new challenge and joy. “We spent time with Damon like we would our own kids; just doing homework projects,” says Jayne. “We also took time to teach Damon our perspective on how to be a kind gentleman and Jim had conversations about how to be a good person and how to treat your girlfriends. We really enjoyed helping mentor a boy through those vital years after having only girls.”
“Damon is a great young man and we felt like we got the cream of the crop,” beamed Jim.
Raquel serves as the Vice President, Channel Sales & Marketing for Netfor. Prior to joining Netfor, Raquel worked for Apparatus Infrastructure Services, a Virtusa Company as the Chief Marketing Officer. Raquel serves on the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana and the Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting Board.