Regarding the news story “ Pittsburgh-area Big Brothers program short on male mentors ”: Many years ago, when I was in my 20s, I saw a billboard asking for volunteers for Big Brothers. I did not know much about kids but was willing to learn while helping another human being who needed a helping hand.
So, I went and was interviewed by the then-head of Big Brothers in Allegheny County. I realized he had to carefully evaluate me and had no problem with that. As it turned out, I was in a group that included a judge, a postal inspector and many other occupations and professions. We would meet and discuss our activities.
This was one of the most rewarding times of my life. I was a Big Brother to two boys over the years I was involved. They knew they were allowed to call me, day or night, if they felt the need. Occasionally, they availed themselves of this permission. I saw them weekly and at other times as needed.
I ultimately left Big Brothers to work with Cub Scouts, as my boys were an appropriate age for that. I did inform my last “little brother” that he could call me, even though we were no longer formally involved; he did, a couple of times — once to wish me “happy birthday.” I was touched by the gesture.
I encourage any man reading this to consider being a Big Brother to someone who needs you, even if you believe (as I did) that you do not understand children. They really do need you!
Jerome W. Silverstein
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