COLLEGE STATION, TX — National Mentor Month is a yearly movement to draw attention to the power of relationships. Moving slowly into year two of isolation due to the pandemic, it's especially important to have people you can rely on during difficult times.
”There’s a lot of people who do this program to help someone else," said Robert Costello, a big brother for Big Brother Big Sister Brazos Valley said. "But just as much as you're helping someone else, you’re gaining something out of it yourself,”
Big Brothers Big Sisters Brazos Valley currently has 110 matches within the community, but according to programs director Terri Hay, there's always a waiting list of littles looking for mentors.
”Right now is probably a really great need for kids to have mentors," Hay explained. "Because maybe some of the supports they would normally have, maybe in school or extra-curricular activities, are just not able to operate in the normal way.”
Matches can remain paired for as long as they would like. The longest match the organization currently has is five years.
Robert Costello is excited to see his little grow into a young adult and be there to guide him every step of the way.
”I envision for myself, you know, if he’s okay with it, you know, being there through graduating high school," Costello added. "He’s going to go to college and just being that support for as long as it takes,”
Fernando Olguin is 14-years-old and in the 8th grade. He says he is blessed to have someone like Costello in his life who he considers like a brother.
Fernando says the two love going to baseball games together. Recently the little brother even pushed Robert out of his comfort zone to work on a engine of a car together, allowing Fernando to dabble in his interest of being an engineer.
”Knowing that he supports me in doing whatever I do for the future," Fernando said. "Knowing that any interest I have he’ll have take a note and do it with me so I can get a feel for it,”
Costello has always wanted to become a mentor and was initially compelled to become a mentor due to the loss of his father at a young age. He is happy to say not only has he taught Fernando new things, but his little pushes him to try new things and expand his interests.
”Just having someone to connect with, someone to reach out to if they feel comfortable with that person, makes a huge difference in that person's mental health,” said Costello
Costello works in assessing those in crisis, and says it's important to have a support system. According to the scientist, isolation can have a negative effect on someone's cognitive functions, such as declining memory and brain activity.