In a hot warehouse in North Houston, workers are packing boxes containing construction equipment to be shipped all over the world. Greg is one of the company’s directors. He is standing beside thirteen-year old Jason. The unlikely pair met over a year ago through Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor program. They get together every other week to have dinner, play sports or go to the movies. Despite their nearly 20 year age gap, they have become close friends. Jason proudly walks beside Greg, who is showing him around.
Not surprisingly, as they reach Greg’s office, Jason speaks very highly of his mentor.
"He’s really great. He’s funny. He’s a good person. I really didn’t have a dad, I didn’t have anybody to just have a moment with and just be there for me and Greg’s the person that’s always there. I can always schedule something if I’m really down. I can put my words with him, talk to him. He listens."
Greg has a similar affection for Jason.
"He’s incredibly smart, typically loquacious. He’s just an incredible kid. I like what he thinks about. He makes me want to be better."
Meanwhile, in a small office on the other side of town, Allison is showing her Little Sister, Nona, the ropes. Allison works for a company that organizes school tours to Washington D.C. and New York. Nona is helping Allison with filing and data entry.
They take a break to talk about their relationship. As Allison talks about Nona, they step on each others’ sentences like sisters.
"I know she has kind of a big family. You’re the oldest girl. And you help out around the house and you babysit your little siblings.
Even though they are not related, Nona takes cues from Allison as she would an older sibling.
"Well, sometimes I’m mean to my little sisters, because they make me mad. So when she’s nice to me, it makes me go back and be nice to them, to show them that I can be a good big sister like her."
Sparkle Anderson is with Big Brothers Big Sisters. She hopes “Bring Your Little to Work Day” will get the forty kids participating today, like Nona and Jason, thinking about their future. The less obvious goal is to inspire Greg and Allison’s coworkers to consider signing up next year.
"Many of them don’t have the opportunity to step into large companies, to see a skyscraper, to see those things that really could show them that there really is a future story and that there are goals that they can seek to obtain. And the second part of that was really to build awareness for the need for mentors in our program."
Anderson says the forty kids who took part gave up one of their last summer vacation days. In turn, she hopes they are making memories that will last a lifetime. The organization hopes to make “Take your Little to Work Day” an annual event.