Larry and Michell

Case managers at Big Brothers Big Sisters strive to create matches that will connect to form a long-term bond. Nine years ago, the staff made one such match in Macon County. It began with a Little Brother who was the brightest kid in his school, but couldn’t relate to classmates. A Big Sister with a big heart and a little extra time stepped in to fill that void.

“When I was first matched, I was shy and reserved,” Larry remembers. “Michell has helped me become more outgoing, which has affected opportunities within my life.  Getting to know her and her kids made me feel like a part of things and come out of my shell.”

Kids at Larry’s school didn’t understand why he knew the answer to every question. They didn’t understand his obsessive tendencies, or why he flipped out when somebody moved his pencils. They didn’t understand him.

To Michell, none of that mattered.

The truth is, Larry tried to control the things he could control. He couldn’t control the fact that his Mom was gone and he lived with his Grandma. He couldn’t control the fact that his sister had heart surgeries and emotional struggles. He couldn’t control what his classmates thought of him. But he could control those pencils.  

Looking back, she remembers looking at her own kids and thinking Hey – I’ve got room to include one more. Her large, boisterous family embraced Larry right off the bat. Game night each week became a ritual. Time spent one-to-one with Michell helped him see that he WAS different from his classmates. And that this was okay.  

Michell recalls the first time they met. He was reserved, but very eager to make a new friend.

“I remember his big smile,” she says. “He has a smile that would melt anyone, definitely me.  He was small and didn't talk very much. “

Small and shy – he is neither of those things today. What he has become is an 18-year old young man who graduated a semester early from high school. He is an incredible violin and bass guitar player. He spent his entire school career on the honor roll and earned Eagle Scout status with the Boy Scouts of America. More than these accomplishments, though, it’s the person Larry has grown into that pleases Michell the most.“Larry has overcome peer pressures, society’s stereotypes, bullying, and life changes. He is an inspiration to me, my family, and many others.  I am more proud of him than words can express.”

Larry says it more simply.

“She has shown me that anyone can be a leader in any sort of way.”

What began nine years ago will always exist for Larry, Michell and their families. It’s what Big Brothers Big Sisters strives to achieve – changing lives for the better, forever.