Originally Published: April 17, 2017 6 a.m.
Myron’s first match with a Little Brother ended amicably in the summer, and by fall he was matched with 7-year-old Amani. The two have had a lot of adventures in the short six months they’ve been Big and Little.
Riding bicycles on the Iron King Trail (Myron frequently fixes the tires on Amani’s bike), raking and then leaping into a huge pile of leaves, going to the Full Swing batting cages, to Freedom Station and to the movies, playing catch or tennis, ice skating and attending a Northern Arizona Suns basketball game are among them. Amani likes playing board games and he proved there’s nothing wrong with his recall abilities when he won the Memory card game.
“Sometimes when we have a plan, we go off on a tangent that ends up being more fun than we planned,” Myron said. “Once after playing tennis, we drove by the park and decided to stop. We ended up playing 3-man tag with another boy there. That was more fun than playing tennis.”
With his Big Brother, Amani has experienced several “firsts.” A boy who is seldom still, he sat mesmerized on the curb watching his first parade — the Prescott Christmas parade. He intently observed the NAZ Suns basketball game and displayed his biggest grin when their mascot posed with him for a photo.
Amani turned 8 years old early this year, and because Myron and his wife, Cheryl, had birthdays the same month, all three enjoyed free admission to Out of Africa in Camp Verde. Amani said he really liked everything, especially feeding a giraffe and watching a tiger splash in a pool with humans.
He’s decorated Christmas cookies, helped bake chocolate chip cookies, and recently helped Cheryl make homemade pizza by adding the pepperoni.
Amani told his mother, “I like it when he takes me on bike rides and I just love to hang out with Myron, because he shows me how it feels to have a dad figure in my life.”
Myron said he wants to be a Big Brother because he believes that many boys without a dad in the picture would like to spend time with an older male, as a natural progression of growing up. He enjoyed his first Little Brother and did not hesitate to enter a second Big-Little relationship.
“When I was teaching and getting to know kids in class, I remember thinking it would be fun to spend time with them without classroom rules,” said the retired middle school science teacher.
Amani and Myron appreciate the support from community members who have donated Arizona State Tax Credits to make possible matches like theirs, or who have participated in Bowl for Kids’ Sake. Anyone interested in contributing financially, or in becoming a Big or referring a Little can call 928-778-5135, or visit www.azbigs.org. Discover today how you can change a child’s life — and your own — for the better.
Information provided by Yavapai Big Brothers/Big Sisters.