Magical Moments: Ian and Gabe
“Covid stress” is a term that most adults have experienced over the past several months. While we long for less stress filled days, there are kids in our region who don’t know the difference between this “new normal” and the constant stress they have always known.
Even amidst the stressful challenges of a pandemic, Magical Moments have not stopped . . .
Although there are times when challenging factors make finding a good match for a child unlikely, particularly a child with special needs, we were able to make a special match.
Gabe is a typical 9 year old boy. He loves to be outside, play video games and is a Big fan of animation. He also has autism. While he participates in mainstream classes, he has trouble processing certain things and needs a structured routine to make his day go smoothly. Gabe has very few friends, and is one of the smartest and most intuitive children we have met at his young age.
Ian applied to be a Big Brother with a specific request — to mentor a child with autism. Ian himself has autism and was severely bullied in middle school and high school. When he was diagnosed with autism, many pieces of his life started to make sense. Ian is now an example of acceptance, compassion and inclusion for kids like Gabe.
Immediately during their first meeting, Gabe and Ian “got” each other. There was no hesitation or reluctance, just acceptance. Ian jumped in and started running down the beach with Gabe and retrieving stones that Gabe wanted from the shoreline. It brought a smile to the faces of everyone who witnessed their joy (of course most didn’t know the extent of their relationship). Gabe’s mom cried tears of joy.
Big Brothers Big Sisters has not stopped mentoring children. Our Bigs continue to find innovative ways to stay connected to their Littles in order to reduce the burdens of their daily stress. Our team is not only supporting our Bigs and Littles, but also helping families connect with resources they need to survive and thrive.