Akabar was just shy of 14 years old when he was paired with his Big Brother, John. “The match meeting was a little awkward,” John tells us, “I wasn’t sure what to expect.”
That initial uncertainty faded away at their first match outing. “We immediately connected and got along really well,” John recalls.
The two love to get out and ride bikes together. Riding all over Oakland and neighboring Berkeley and Alameda, John has watched Akabar grow into the high school senior he is today. “I think he needs a bigger bike!” John jokes.
As Akabar grew, their relationship deepened. Now, in addition to their fun weekend outings, the two meet after school one day a week, so John can help Akabar with his homework. “He’s always listening to my advice,” John tells us. “It has made me more self-aware.”
Even though they will soon graduate from the program, the bond these two share will last a lifetime and beyond. A testament to the ripple effect of mentoring, John has noticed Akabar helping out the next generation. “In his martial arts class, I can see him mentoring and looking out for the younger kids…Akabar is a really kind individual.”