Terence Daniels decided to volunteer as a Big Brother mentor because, he says, “I live by the idea of wanting this world to be a better place because I was in it.
“I wasn’t sure if I had what it takes to be a ‘Big,’ but I knew I could share my story and some of the lessons I’ve learned and pass them on.”
His strategy worked. At this summer’s National Big Brothers Big Sisters gala in San Diego, he was named National Big Brother of the Year.
Daniels, who had been a Little Brother in his youth, was matched with his own “Little,” Terrell, in 2009. They were paired through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati.
Terrell was 9, and his early life was difficult. His younger brother died, his parents were incarcerated and he was separated from his other siblings. His aunt, Mahogany Howard, gained custody and decided that having another positive adult role model, a Big Brother, could help Terrell.
Daniels’ focus from the beginning was to be a person Terrell could count on and one he could look up to. When his military service took him to Iraq, Daniels kept in contact with Terrell. While he was deployed, he got word that Terrell had walked away from a fight at school, remembering his Big Brother’s advice that problems can be dealt with in many ways.
The two recently returned from Big Brothers Big Sisters’ national gathering where they shared their story with the crowd of nearly 1,000 people.
Terrell said that while Terence “isn’t my blood brother, he is my forever brother.”
Daniels shared his pride in Terrell, who recently graduated from Withrow High School. Terrell joined the National Guard and plans to attend the University of Cincinnati to pursue a career in dentistry.
Kathy List, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati, said, “Terence is a shining example of how a volunteer goes about his quiet work – guiding a deserving boy through everyday decisions – all with a goal of raising a confident, competent and productive young man.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati pairs adult volunteer mentors with children who can benefit from having a positive role model. The agency currently serves 1,180 children, with a waiting list of about 400.