I first met Mike when he was starting kindergarten when I matched him with his first Big Brother, an HPU baseball player. Mike had severe anger issues, was aggressive, would not look at me or talk to me when I asked him questions. He was suspended multiple times in Kindergarten for disrupting the classroom, being disrespectful to teachers and classmates, even hitting classmates and teachers. This behavior continued throughout the next 4 years of school and he transferred to a different school almost every year because of his behavior.

However, there was something about Mike that I fell in love with. He is a smart, loving, athletic, and charming little guy with great leadership potential but was just in a very chaotic, dysfunctional and unstable home environment. If I could have adopted him, I would have!! He started opening up with me , as well as with his Big Brother. He shared that he did not like himself when he got angry and became violent and destructive. And he really didn’t want to give his 3rd grade teacher that black eye but she just made him mad. We developed a support team for Mike and got his mother, teachers and guidance counselor involved.

Mike’s first Big Brother left HPU and he has had two since then. His current Big Brother Zach, is such a positive , stable, consistent and calm influence in Mike’s life. Zach is always there when Mike needs to talk about his day or wants to share about his feelings. Zach has been encouraging and supportive no matter what kind of day Mike has, or whether he has gotten suspended for the “uptheenth” time. Zach tells Mike that he can do anything he wants and that he believes in the “good” Mike that is within him. Zach helps his Little Brother bring out the wonderful, caring child that Mike truly is. I am proud to post that this year, Mike is at another new school and has not gotten suspended or in trouble for ANYTHING at all!! He teacher says that “Mike is a joy to have in her class” and he is on the A/B honor roll. He loves doing his class work and gets all of his homework done every night. In fact , he will receive a principal’s award next week for doing so well in school this year and Zach will be right there beside him.

-Teresa Jackson, CaseManager