March team member spends off-duty time as Big Brother
By Master Sgt. Sherman Harris, 701st Combat Operations Squadron
/ Published May 03, 2012
MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, CALIF. --
Why do I volunteer as a Big Brother?
Well, it is not the pay, it is not the fame and glory, and it is certainly not because I have a lot of free time on my hands; I do it because I care. I was blessed to have many brothers and sisters, so I truly know the real and sometimes under-appreciated value of family.
However, what about those kids who are not as fortunate, you know, those who are born into a challenged life situation; what can be done for them? No one can pick and choose which families to be born into, but if I can make a difference to someone less fortunate, then that's what I am going to do.
I first heard about the local Big Brother Program from a retired work-mate, Steve McCann, a former member of our orderly room. We just happened to be conversing about nothing in general when out of the blue, he asked me if I would be interested in being a Big Brother. In all honesty, he didn't catch me by surprise because it was something that I contemplated doing for some time, but never committed myself; now, I have no excuses.
Steve introduced me to the Path of Life Ministries, the caretakers of the local Big Brother Program and immediately signed me up. Prior to receiving an assignment, they had to conduct a thorough background check that consisted of interview and fingerprinting at the local police station. After about a year, I was contacted by Reeknola Jarmon and congratulated on my appointment as a Big Brother.
The second phase of the screening went by much quicker, since all they had to do was match me with the right mentee...a much faster process, but still very important step. They had to ensure the mentee and I suited each other well; you know, similar interests and somewhat familiar backgrounds.
When the match process finished, I was united with Ms. Ruby Machado and her two sons, Daniel (5) and Nikkolas (9); they had been waiting for mentor for about a year. At that time, the family was staying in a transitional housing unit for families.
"We had a great first meeting! I really enjoyed their excitement of now having a Big Brother to spend time with."
To date, we have shared many good times together such as going to the movies, bowling and attending the March AirFest. Sure, we have fun, but in between the fun, I try to sneak in a life lesson for them to live by. I try to incorporate activities that not only exercise their bodies, but also their minds, with respect to education and the morals of life.
My unit plays a big part with supporting my activities, with special recognition to Senior Master Sgt. Marcus Cole, 701 COS/CCQ. He, along with my Top 3, provide me with ample time to be a role model for my little brothers. There is a recycling area in my unit that allows me to collect bottles, cans, plastics to be recycled; it earns a little cash, which lessens my expenses.
Being a Big Brother is probably one of the highlights of my career and life and I intend to remain for many years to come.