Bill Halligan is a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham. Bill has been a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization for two years. He not only has served as a big brother to two children in need of a positive role model; he has also served as a committed member of the agency’s executive board. Bill has been a “big” to his 14-year-old little brother Caleb for over a year, who had been on the waiting list for a big brother for almost two years prior. Caleb lived in an area that was far on the outskirts of town, an area that unfortunately did not produce many volunteers. Not only did he live far out, but he had become a teenager while waiting which unfortunately makes it more difficult to find a match due to some people’s reluctance to work with teens. Caleb thought that his chances of getting matched were over. Then came Bill. Bill lived nowhere near Caleb, but when he heard that the boy was in need of a brother, he gave no consideration to distance. Since being matched, Bill has gone above and beyond to not only nurture his relationship with Caleb, he has also strengthened Caleb’s relationship with his parents! There are times when Bill will make special arrangements to have outings not only with Caleb, but also include Caleb’s father on some of the outings occasionally to encourage them to have a stronger relationship. Caleb’s parents are divorced and his relationship that was somewhat strained with his father has grown much closer as a result of his Big Brother’s efforts! That’s something we don’t see every day. Bill sees his brother almost every single weekend though he is only required to see him twice a month. He and his brother have become spokesmen for the organization, often speaking at churches and community functions in order to encourage others to be mentors.
As a result of his relationship with Bill, Caleb, previously very shy and insecure, never turns down an opportunity to speak in front of others, whether it is the Executive Board or a whole congregation of strangers! Bill has encouraged him to see that there are no limits to what he can achieve. Though he still sometimes has typical difficulties with schoolwork, Bill’s little brother has found a new sense of the future as a result of his Big Brother opening him up to a new world of possibilities. Bill’s existence in his life has helped to deter Caleb from joining gangs when he was approached. As he explained it, he didn’t need them to be his brothers because he has a brother. It is people like Bill Halligan that help to mold our youth of today and pave new roads for them to have better futures. Without positive mentors like Bill, the youth would often be forced to lead themselves, or even worse, be led by negative peer influences. If all of us could touch one life the way Bill has touched his life.