Ryan DunkelbergBig Brothers Big Sisters, Bartlesville
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma has selected Ryan Dunkelberg of Bartlesville as its outstanding mentor of the year for Oklahoma Mentor Day. Dunkelberg, a revenue analyst for ConocoPhillips, began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters because he liked the idea of investing in a child long-term.
Ryan and his Little Brother Nick have been matched for about three years. Nick was in the third grade when he was matched with his Big Brother and is now 13 years old. Brandi Dunkel, vice president of programs for Big Brothers Big Sisters Oklahoma, said Ryan has been a consistent and true friend to his Little Brother regardless of what has been going on in their lives.
Prior to being matched with Ryan, Nick was getting into a lot of trouble at school. Ryan, who lost his father at a young age, knew the importance of a strong male role model.
“We have been able to talk about the good and the bad of growing up, about developing strong friendships, staying away from bullies and to never be a bully, the damaging effects of drugs and alcohol, having good manners, and the importance of going to school,” Ryan said.
Ryan is passionate about education and has helped Nick with his homework by taking him to the library to work on math together. Ryan gradually began to see improvements with Nick. One major growth achievement for Nick came at the end of their first year together. Nick’s behavior improved, his grades improved and he began to enjoy his classes.
Grateful to be a mentor, Ryan said that “Nick has grown as a person in the time that I have met him and I am excited to watch him continue to learn and develop into a successful young man.”
Ryan has encouraged Nick to attend college one day. After learning that Ryan went to the University of Oklahoma Nick decided that he wanted to attend OU too and become a lawyer.
“We are excited to recognize Ryan as our Big Brother of the Year!” Dunkel said. “Because Ryan is an excellent ambassador for the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency and because he is a dependable and positive role model in Nick’s life.”