Upperclassmen provide spiritual encouragement, fellowship for junior high boys
Before a Brother to Brother lunch senior Ryan Neufeld, left, signs out with his younger brother, Phillip Christopher, '17. According to members, both older and younger brothers, the program provides opportunities of spiritual growth.
After its founding last year, Brother to Brother has started again. With 18 upperclassmen boys matched up with 18 junior high boys, Brother to Brother aims to impact the lives of its participants.
The program was created in order to bridge the gap between high school and junior high students. It was created as a mentoring program which focuses on fellowship and spiritual connection. This year-long program helps students connect on a much deeper level than a simple acknowledgement in the hallway.
Director and founder of the program, Terry Richards, wants the younger boys to know how to become strong Christian men.
"We try to match young guys up with old guys to mentor them and to be a role model for what a teenage Christian guy should be like," Richards said. "We really want the older guys to build a relationship with the younger."
Many of the junior high boys boys are eager to have a responsible role model to look up to and gain knowledge from. Justin Houts, '16, sees the program as beneficial because he gains an insight into the high school life.
"My favorite thing about Brother to Brother last year was probably getting to know someone older than you that you can rely on or just be good friends with." --Aaron DeWolf, '15
"It's good to talk to other high school students and get to know them well and see what's going on up there and see what to expect for me when I get to high school," Houts said.
Over the course of the year, the boys are able to develop friendships. They share in occasional off-campus lunches at the Promised Land. Freshman Aaron Dewolf, who participated in the program last year, appreciates the tight-knit friendship between brothers. Through the program, he has become interested in being involved in high school.
In the first year of Brother to Brother, older brothers and younger brothers meet for lunch. The group, now in its second year, allows junior high boys to get a glimpse of high school life, and receive advice from high school boys.
"My favorite thing about Brother to Brother last year was probably getting to know someone older than you that you can rely on or just be good friends with," Dewolf said. "It has been beneficial because it taught me how to get along with upperclassmen and it inspired me to become a brother to brother older brother later on."
Newcomer Brandon McCormick feels that the experience is equally satisfying for the older brothers as it is helpful for the younger brothers. From his perspective, he can observe his the role of his brother's faith in life.
"The thing that I look forward to the most is probably just seeing how my brother grows throughout the year, even with his relationship with Christ," McCormik said, "to just talk with him more about that and try to get him closer to God and see how he grows throughout the year."
The program gives the older brothers a feeling of completeness that is not achieved in many clubs, second-year participant Brady Lee, '12, says.
"It's satisfying knowing that your pouring into the life of someone else and that you get to just bless them in that way," Lee says.
Those interested in joining the program next semester can contact Richards for information.
Editor's note: Check back soon for a video.
For more information, read the Jan. 11 article, Brother to Brother reflects on inaugural semester.