Meet Jim & Will: Match of the Year Honorees

Each year Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Indiana honors our “Matches of the Year”. We had 10 matches of the year in 2021, and each of these matches was interviewed for a series of short videos.      

We weren’t able to fit everything into the Match of the Year videos, so here’s a deeper look into one of 2021’s strongest matches!      

Big Brother Jim and Little Brother Will have been matched since October of 2016. 

 Jim became a Big after hearing about his friend’s experience with the program. This firsthand account sparked some interest, but he was sold when heard about the need. “I assumed there were plenty of people ready to sign up to become mentors, even that there were more mentors than kids signed up. I learned that the reverse of that is true and there’s such a huge need.” 

Before being matched his biggest concern was having enough time to dedicate to the match. He wasn’t sure if he could give enough time to make a real impact. He shared this worry with his friend, who reassured him. Jim reflected that reassurance in his advice to potential Bigs, saying:  

“Every human has a fundamental need to be seen, heard, and understood. A lot of the time that we spend together, that’s my only goal. I don’t need to impress Will with some knowledge that I have. I don’t need to do or teach anything. I need to be the person in his life that he can talk to and know that he will be accepted no matter what.” 

The first time Will met Jim; he was a little bit nervous. Despite his nerves, he resolved to “see how it goes”. Since then, they have grown to have a very close relationship. In his words:  

“Over time Jim has come to feel like a close family member. He has helped me through some tough situations, things like school, work, and friend drama. He helps me reach good conclusions and solve whatever problems I’m dealing with.” 

Since their 1st time meeting back in 2016, Will has grown a lot. Jim shared how impressed he is by the strides he has made in confidence and self-acceptance. Jim said, “Will is a really cool person and it’s been cool to see him accept that and not try to fit into what other people want or what he thinks other people might want him to be… I spent most of my childhood trying to fit in and conform rather than accept who I am. Seeing him go through that process with a lot more confidence has given me a lot of hope in his future being bright.” 

Will concluded the conversation by saying, “I don’t need to take things people say to heart. Jim has helped me learn that. I can confidently say that I am a lot happier than I was before we met.” 

There are over 1,000 kids like Will on our waitlist. They’re waiting for a mentor, for someone to stand in their corner. Learn more about how you could make an impact like Jim as a Big.


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