Ray has been Max’s Big Brother for 4 years. Ray explains, “I always wanted to be a Big but I was so busy with work. After I retired, I finally decided to do it thanks to my niece who talked me into it-she is a big sister”.
Ray was worried about the match at first. “He came in for our first meeting and was acting up so I was a little nervous he was going to be a handful, but he wasn’t. I still have the original picture from that day, he has changed a lot.”
The changes Ray describes are evident to anyone who meets Max. Ray says, “Max has become more confident and can talk to adults like I never could at that age”.
Max now has no shortage of confidence. “I am a student advocate for the teacher shortage in the Santa Fe Public Schools, and next year I will apply to be on the student board,” he says. “One day I want to work in government”.
Max says he wanted a mentor as a way to occupy his time due to “the absence of his parents.” They now meet at least one or two times a week, and are closer than they either thought possible. “Ray has been tremendous, he’s like a brother to me,” Max says.
The two are both Chicago Cubs fans, and spend their time listening to music, reading, learning about history and visiting new places. “It has been fun to see Max grow up from 13,” Says Ray. “He has also helped me, met my family members, and we all feel like he is part of the family.”
Anyone who’s spent time around the two of them can tell what a special relationship they have, and it’s a relationship that both of them hope will last a lifetime and give Max the tools he needs to succeed in the future. Max says, “I’m glad I got matched with him. He is getting me in shape to be a man and ready for the real world.”