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Helping Hands – Big Brothers and Big Sisters

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In July 2010, Tamika Davis found herself in the throes of parenthood raising three children on her own. Her children never had a relationship with their father. She worked as a school bus driver and tried to be a good mom to sons Jai’lyn, 11, Darrion, 8; and daughter, Jahmia, 4. Jai’lyn and Darrion started to act out. “My sons were having issues at school and home,” Tamika said. “They were bringing home Fs, getting suspended and being disobedient.”

The pressure to raise productive, well-behaved children overwhelmed Tamika. She noticed the other young boys in their neighborhood getting involved in gangs and participating in illegal behavior. She didn’t want that for her sons and reached out to her pediatrician for advice; he referred her to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Jai’lyn and Darrion were matched with Big Brothers Andy and Chris, two successful men in their 20s. The boys began spending time each week with their Bigs, bonding over food and sports and building friendships. Before BBBS, Darrion had low self-esteem and stated that he didn’t have any friends. Darrion only requested that his Big Brother “not lie” to him. He got his wish and much more. Chris and Darrion talk daily and have an unbreakable friendship. “Chris gives me advice on girls, not talking back to my mom, how to say no ma’am, yes ma’am. He is really my role model,” said Darrion. Andy and Jai’lyn built a friendship that is helping him cope with the peer pressures of being a teen. Jai’lyn initially wanted a Big Brother to go swimming with and to “teach him how not to fight.”

“Andy has always been there for Jai’lyn and he knows that anytime he needs him, he will be there. I am truly blessed and grateful for Chris and Andy taking time out of their busy schedules and lives for my boys,” Tamika said. “If they hadn’t stepped in, eventually, I would have lost my boys to the streets. Now my boys’ grades are better, their reading is better, their homework gets done and they have better attitudes.”

Jahmia is now eight and is excited she finally gets a Big Sister. She’s witnessed her brothers’ Bigs over the past four years and she’s ready to have her own. “I’m excited for her to have the same friendship my boys have received through their Bigs,” Tamika said.

Tamika considers Chris and Andy, two men who have changed their lives, a part of their extended family. HLM


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