KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE)- East Tennessee Big Brothers Big Sisters is getting national attention from a now-viral post to social media featuring a Knoxville Big Brother and Little Brother.
Posted to the Instagram and Facebook account Humans of New York, the photos and accompanying captions tell the story of two Knoxvillians who met through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, Big Brother Adam and Little Brother Brandon.
Adam, at the time, a grad student; Brandon was in middle school.
“I’d just turned 12. I think Dad realized that I needed somebody in my life. He was working two jobs so I never had anyone to talk to,’ Brandon shares in the post. He met his Big Brother when he was 12.
The post says that the two were only supposed to meet two times a month, but they started having meetings closer to three times a week.
He helped me study. I could call him whenever I felt sad. And he helped me with my anger outbursts. Whenever I was having a bad day, we’d go to a bridge near his house and throw a bunch of rocks in the creek. He helped me so much over the years.Brandon, Humans of New York
Even when Adam moved to New York, the pair kept in touch. Brandon was able to finish his last two years of high school in Knoxville, in the back of his mind, a promise to his Big Brother.
“He promised me that if I graduated with all B’s, he’d fly me up to New York for a visit. Well, I did better than that. I graduated with all A’s and B’s,” said Brandon.
Their tradition became meals at Shoney’s, a picture included in the post shows Brandon on their first trip there together.
“In the beginning, there was a lot of silence. And whenever he did talk, I’d just say, ‘I get that, I get that.’ After a few days of that, he told me, ‘Thanks for trying to get me.’ ” Adam said.
In the hours following the post made Thursday night, BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh says the local chapter has already received an influx of inquires for more information on becoming a Big Brother/Big Sister.
BBBS-ETN has need of volunteers for all sorts of occasions which range from event staffing, to program sales via a partnership with VolNetwork, to serve on committees.
The first step is filling out a form to learn more information.
The program requires “Bigs” to spend a few hours 2 to 4 times a month, for at least a required year, as a mentor to a child.