Tom met his Little, Lal, in 1973 when Lal was 7 and Tom was 26. They carved pumpkins together and smiled for a picture. This was the first in a long series of days spent together which culminated in a 50 year-long friendship that is still strong to this day.
Tom was drawn to BBBS after moving to San Francisco. He knew he wanted to do community service, and his mentors from Boy Scouts in his youth made a big impression on him. He wanted to pay it forward. 50 years later and it’s safe to say he did. Tom saw Lal and his little sister, Priscilla (a welcome surprise part of the BBBS package) all the way through school and into adulthood. “It’s our adopted family, really,” Tom said and mentioned, “I’m bringing them to [the Gala to] celebrate with us cuz they’re part of it.” Even now as they live in different states, they still make a point to call and see each other. Lal “is so good to me,” Tom said and beamed. “He tells me how much he loves me all the time.”
The feeling is undoubtedly mutual as Tom shared stories and placed photos of their years together across the desk. He is the first to admit it’s not just Lal or other Littles who benefit from the mentoring experience. “Everybody wins,” Tom said and continued, “I won because of the relationship that we built and the extended family that came along.”
And mentorship didn’t stop with Tom and Lal. Decades after the October day the two were matched, Lal called Tom to tell him he’d signed up to be a Big Brother. Lal “just did it, cuz he thought that was the right thing to do,” Tom said proudly.
Through his own experience and seeing Lal become a Big to a Little of his own, Alex, Tom shared his realization that one-on-one time with another person is key to helping them.“ It doesn’t take much to make a big impact,” he said and explained, “I learned that, cuz I was just being myself, and now I got a whole family as a result.” That’s the best part of his time with BBBS, according to Tom.
Tom, Lal, Alex, and their loved ones celebrated their 50-year Match at our Big Futures Gala on April 28, 2023. Here’s to their incredible, long-lasting mentoring relationship!