Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma, Tulsa
When Justin Maddox moved from Chicago to Tulsa in 2014 to begin a new job, he didn’t know a soul in Oklahoma. He decided to establish roots and engage in his new community by becoming a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer.
Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters is recognizing Maddox for being a constant friend, source of encouragement and tireless advocate for his Little Brother Michael, a student at Will Rogers Junior High. Over the course of their four-year match, the pair has enjoyed playing sports, visiting the arcade, trying new restaurants and attending sporting events. Maddox has also taught Michael about healthy living and the importance of fitness. With a career in the finance industry, Maddox shares his interest in math and does math problems with Michael, who dreams of one day being an engineer.
“Justin is the nicest person I know, and he always has a solution for any problem I have,” Michael said. “When we meet for our outings, he always asks me, ‘How are your grades?’ and ‘What did you do this week at school or at home that was exciting?’ To me, that shows he really cares about my success in school and wants to hear about how my week is going.”
When Michael and his mom found themselves in a situation where they needed to quickly find another place to live, Maddox worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters to find community resources so they could have a stable living situation. Maddox invited Michael and his mom to attend his wedding last spring and accompanied Michael to a back-to-school shopping event to get new school uniforms and accessories.
Maddox believes Michael has become more observant and vocal over the course of their match and that has broadened his interests. Michael has joined the debate and robotics clubs and makes As and Bs each semester in school. His mom says his attitude has improved and that he is more responsible and helpful around the house.
Michael says his Big Brother has introduced him to things he’d never done before, from learning to tie a neck tie for the first time to learning to swing a baseball bat and hit a ball. “No one had ever taught me to do that before,” he said.
“If I did not have Justin in my life, I would not have been able to learn new things like how to be healthy or how to have good manners,” Michael said. “I would not have such a good friend to talk to about things going on in my life. When times get tough, Justin is someone I can talk to, and he always listens.”
About the Program: As the nation’s largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (Bigs) and children (Littles), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country. The program develops relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.