Cape Youngster Eager for Big Brother

Johnny shows off some of his skateboarding skills.

Johnny eyes widened as he imagined what it would be like if he was matched with a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri. "He might take me fishing. We could watch sports on TV. We could watch the WWE. We could go to the park," the 10-year-old suggested, adding, "We could play sports too. I'm really good at any sport with a ball -- except for golf."

Johnny's eagerness to have a Big Brother is countered with the reality that he is one of 200 Little Brothers/Little Sisters in the Cape Girardeau region waiting for a volunteer mentor. More than 60 percent of the Littles who are waiting are boys, illustrating the special need for male volunteers.

Johnny's Great Aunt Jill enrolled him in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program during the summer after hearing the always energetic youngster mention he was bored. Jill remembered a flyer she saw about the program and asked Johnny if he would be interested. "I have always known about Big Brothers Big Sisters and understanding Johnny needs a positive male influence really made me think this was something I should pursue," the loving aunt explained.

The lone male in a house of females, Johnny could benefit from the guidance and support of a caring male mentor, according to his insightful aunt. "At his age, he really could use a male figure in his life -- someone he can look up to," Jill said. "And, there are certain things I want him to have the opportunity to do like fishing, running, biking -- I don't really do any of those things anymore."

Bigs and Littles do all kinds of activities together, many of which the Big may already be doing in his/her own life. The most important thing a Big can do is be there for encouragement and support. By being a positive role model, a Big can have a significant impact on a Little's life and open their world up to new possibilities.

Johnny's world at home has been lacking a strong, positive male presence for a few years. Johnny's father, a veteran and caring dad, is deceased. "I have some of his hats and some of his medals that he was awarded," the proud son shared. And Johnny has fond memories of doing things with his father. "I think he took me to some Rams games when I was 3," Johnny recalled.

"Johnny is a really good, smart kid," Jill continued. Hurriedly trying to underscore his aunt's assertion, Johnny retrieved a certificate he was awarded for advanced level achievement in math and communication arts on his 2011 Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests. He beamed as he talked about being one of seven students to receive the honor.

"He has the opportunity to be a good man in this world," Jill said concluding, "He deserves someone who will show him what that means."

If you know someone who would make a great Big Brother or Big Sister, nominate them today. It might be a co-worker, a family member, a friend -- or even yourself. For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, call (573) 339-0184 or visit the website at