Empowering Potential: Wally and Frankie’s Story

Sharmaine Sun Stories June 28, 2023

In the past six years, Big Brother Wally has seen his Little, Frankie, grow from an overwhelmed 11-year-old to a confident high school senior with a promising future. Frankie’s upbringing was far from easy. As a biracial child whose father spent years incarcerated, he faced numerous challenges growing up. When his father was released, the struggle to find steady employment only added to Frankie’s burden. Seeking an escape, he gravitated towards negative influences, drawn to the world of drugs and gangs. But that was before he met Wally.

Frankie was matched with Wally, a self-made tech security business owner, who himself had overcome an ADHD diagnosis and corresponding stigma while growing up and saw his own story reflected in Frankie’s experiences. He recognized the untapped potential within his Little and embarked on a mission to help him transform his life.

From the very beginning, Wally made a profound connection with Frankie, committing himself to helping Frankie with his schoolwork, helping him improve his study habits and boost his grades. This dedication to Frankie’s academic success paved the way for greater opportunities in the future.

Wally’s influence extended beyond the classroom, too. Recognizing Frankie’s natural gifts of communication and leadership, he used his connections to help secure Frankie’s first summer job as a business development representative at a local startup. This was a stepping stone, an opportunity for Frankie to harness his own potential and to develop new skills. Under Wally’s guidance, Frankie began to believe in his own abilities.

When Frankie faced problems at school or found himself in the wrong company, Wally was there to intervene and offer guidance. Although Frankie had been drawn to material possessions and the allure of high risk activities, his mindset began to shift under Wally’s mentorship. He admired Wally’s intellect, business acumen, and success. Wally never gave up on Frankie, using challenging moments as teaching opportunities, helping Frankie learn and grow stronger.

(Top) Frankie and Wally in 2017; (Bottom) Frankie and Wally in 2023.

This year, as Frankie celebrates his 18th birthday and graduates from the BBBSBA program, his transformation is nothing short of extraordinary. With acceptance letters from five colleges in hand, he stands at the crossroads of a future filled with limitless possibilities. Reflecting on their journey, Wally remarks, “Frankie is a born leader and truly a special person.”

The story of Wally and Frankie is a testament to the power of mentorship and the positive impact that consistent support has on a young person’s life. Through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, lives are being transformed, and a brighter future is being built—one match at a time. The journey of Wally and Frankie stands as an inspiration, a reminder that with the right guidance and support, every child can reach their full potential and build a stronger Bay Area for us all.

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