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Big Brothers Big Sisters duo demonstrates power of mentorship

Tate and Q at Lakeside Park
Posted at 12:38 PM, May 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-23 11:11:57-04

FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — 12-year-old Quadir Kern—who goes by “Q”— said he always looks forward to hanging out with his big brother, Tate Tranel.

“It’s really nice. We usually go out play football, toss the ball in the park or we sometimes go out to eat,” Q said.

Q and Tate may not share parents, but their bond goes beyond blood.

“I tried to be that role model, to have that positive outlook on life, trying to keep things positive, trying to give him advice that I’d give my siblings as well,” Tate said.

It’s relationships like this that Jennifer Smith, program director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fond du Lac County, said is so special about the program — children can access a support system that can only be found in a sibling relationship.

“There's no grounding from your mentor. You can talk to them and relate to them without feeling that you're gonna get in trouble, because they're just your friend, or your big brother or your big sister and they're there just to support you,” Smith said.

Big Brother' Big Sisters just wrapped up their "big draft" to recruit new “bigs” — which is what they call mentors — and organizers say there are dozens of children like Q who are looking for a big brother or big sister.

"We need mentors, especially male mentors," Smith said. "Right now we have a lot of kids that are waiting that are male, and we would love to be able to give them that male role model in their life."

Smith said mentors are required to meet with their "little" once a month, and it's a mutually beneficial program.

“It is a child that we're trusting with you, so we do our pretty thorough when it comes to background checks and kind of vetting the person,” Smith said. “But honestly, if you're someone that sees themselves throwing a ball around or doing a craft or going to a museum … honestly, I feel like if you're the kind of person that just needs a break from being an adult for a minute, we will help you with that.”

Tate said spending time with Q benefits both of them.

“You kind of can just release your inner child,” Tate said. “You just go and play and hang out. And it's something that you know, we both learned from each other with questions and Q is super curious. And he's always asking questions, and that keeps me on my toes.”

Smith said just about any child can qualify to be a “little” and have their own mentor.

“It's really a nice thing to, like, get you out of your comfort zone to where you can talk to new people, get outside when you don't really have much to do, and just to have fun, really,” Q said.

Potential "bigs" and "littles" can learn more online or call 920-922-8200.