Christian, at just 15, has dealt with many very mature situations that no child should ever have to. His biological mother struggled with addiction, and Christian was born with drugs in his system. Once he was healthy, his grandmother, Susan, took him home from the hospital and adopted him as well as his older brother, Julian, raising them both as a single parent. Julian battles a rare terminal disease and over the past five years, Christian has greatly struggled to cope with his brother becoming blind, wheelchair-bound and suffering from dementia. With all the negativity that Christian was experiencing in his life, Susan looked to Big Brothers Big Sisters to find a male role model who could be understanding of Christian’s struggle and help him through the tough times.
Christian was matched with his Big Brother in April 2016. “When I first met Alex, I instantly knew we would make great friends,” says Christian. “He is a great listener, and an even better speaker.” The two have enjoyed doing fun activities together like going to the movies or out to eat, and Alex has also been instrumental in helping Christian succeed academically. Christian was struggling in school before his match was made, but Christian has helped him get his grades back up and has even taught Alex skills that could lead him to a potential career someday. “Alex has gone above and beyond to introduce Christian to many new experiences. He picks activities to do with Christian that enhance Christian’s life. Alex has invested in Christian by introducing him to learning software coding, learning about finances, politics and introducing Christian to different types of food. He encourages Christian to try new things and to push himself beyond his comfort level.”
It is clear Alex has left a life-long footprint on Christian’s path. “My favorite thing about my Big Brother is how smart he is,” says Christian. “I can’t remember a time that we hung out that I left without learning something new.” Susan is incredibly grateful that Christian has found an amazing Big Brother to guide him in ways that she wasn’t able to. “Christian is more willing to try new things and he is more confident,” she says. “He needed a role model that would stick with him and Alex has done that.”