Giani and John were matched in May 2017. “John is very kind,” Giani says. “He is very [understanding].” These two enjoy many adventures, including kayaking, escape rooms, and go-karts, but it’s the simple quality time together that they look forward to most. “We genuinely enjoy being around each other, and I know I will usually drop him off and leave with a smile,” says John. “One time when my kids went to college, I told him how I was a little sad that they weren’t around. So to cheer me up, he said, ‘You still got me around. I’m like one of your kids.’ I was honored to hear him say that, and it really left me with a big smile.”
John strives to incorporate learning into all of their outings, and even picks games that require Giani to practice reading. They also learn practical life skills, and after they talked about the elements of going out to eat (like how to order and pay), Giani took the lead on their next restaurant visit.
John has also learned from his Little Brother throughout their match. “[Giani] will tell me a fact, usually about sports, and when it happened,” John says. “Then, he likes to tell me about things that happened before or after that fact. Or, he will ask me for a fact, and he tries to figure out if it happened before or after his fact.”
Watching this curiosity grow makes John excited to see all his Little Brother accomplishes in the future. “I hope he acquires a passion for learning,” John says. “I show him how I am constantly learning new things in my career, in martial arts, or even with hobbies like drawing and painting. I show him I am always trying to grow. So I hope he will always continue to grow as well.”
Giani shares that he has learned from John “how to create things,” and “how to have good manners.” Giani’s mom, Brittany, also appreciates all that her son’s Big Brother has taught him, and says that John has been a consistent figure who has helped Giani navigate many transitions over the years. “John has been present to address challenges like bullying, academics, and loss over the years,” says Brittany. “[He] has taught Giani how to navigate and cope with adversity in healthy, appropriate ways.”
Giani knows that he can always rely on his Big Brother. “John has helped me get through not having a dad, and has always been there for me,” Giani says. “John has never been late, and if he misses a visit, [he] will always reschedule if he needs to.” Brittany sees her son watching this behavior in his Big Brother and modeling it himself. She says, “Giani’s time with John has provided Giani a caring, responsible example of manhood, and how to regard others.”