Real Life Stories

Reaching New Heights

Julian was just eight years old when he was matched with his Big Brother George. His mother worked long hours in addition to caring for Julian, his two sisters, and his new baby nephew. Despite a full household, Julian was a shy boy who was starting to withdraw. He tended to spend his weekends indoors, at home.

Julian’s mother looked to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay area for help. Divorced from Julian’s father, she thought that Julian could use a male presence in his life. That’s where Big Brother George came in.

Raised by his mother since the age of five after the tragic death of his father, George was no stranger to hardship himself. He took Julian for their first outing at a local park, hoping the dogs playing, the runners passing by, and the birds flying through the trees would give them a lot to talk about. When Julian remained quiet and asked to return home after just 30 minutes, George was sympathetic.

Fast-forward three years and Julian has not only become more outgoing and engaged, he’s experiencing new things like hiking and even rock climbing! He’s teaching George a thing or two as well. “I am learning about all these new phrases, songs, movies, and culture, and it is great,” he tells us. “Julian has also taught me to be more appreciative of all the small things we take for granted. I took him on his first ferry ride and we went under the bridge—he was more excited than a kid at Christmas!”

While they enjoy all their outings, one of the most memorable for Big Brother George was their time at the rock climbing gym. Julian was initially hesitant to start, overwhelmed by the big walls. He stopped his first attempt at climbing early.

George got down on Julian’s level, looked him in the eyes, and talked him through his fears. He asked if Julian instead wanted to try to get to the halfway point on the rock wall. George remembers, “I told Julian I believe in him [and] he echoed back with full confidence, ‘If you believe in me, I know I can do it.’ It seemed right out of a movie and it went right to my heart.”

Julian went straight for his next attempt at the wall, but instead of stopping at the halfway point, Julian went right to the top! “I lowered him down and almost cried tears of happiness,” George says. “I was so proud.”


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