Site-based BBBSCA volunteer Cale speaks about spending time with 12-year-old Joshua.

What is one thing you have learned from Joshua?

Joshua recently surprised me by turning some of my own advice back on me. Since the beginning of our match, we’ve talked a lot about how Joshua should believe in himself and how if he works hard he can do anything he wants. I’ve seen him go from a little shy and uncertain to upbeat and confident. During one of our meetings,

I told Joshua about a fitness goal of mine—an intense 5K obstacle course that is held at various locations throughout the country. He asked me when I was going to run it and I told him I didn’t know because I wasn’t ready yet. He looked kind of confused and asked me how I knew that I wasn’t ready. I tried to explain how the course was very difficult and how I was working my way up to it. But he completely ended the discussion when he told me I couldn't know for sure unless I tried, and that he believed I could do it if I wanted to. I couldn’t have been more impressed with how Joshua taught me my own lesson. I'll be running the race the next time an event is held within driving distance.

Is there anything that has surprised you about volunteering as a mentor and your experience as a Big Brother?

The only thing that has surprised me is how little time it takes to make a difference. The rapport Joshua and I have built and the improvements he has made are genuinely surprising considering that we only spend one hour a week together during the school year. It’s great that so much can be accomplished in so little time.

*Photo and story courtesy of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas