In the News

Having lost contact with his father, Jamiu Kolawole was 14 when his mother signed him up for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Chicago.
“He really ended up being someone who took me by the hand and showed me the ropes,” said Kolawole of his mentor, he referred to only as Jake. “He had a huge impact — he taught me that life can be so much more if you apply yourself.”
Today, the 34-year-old IT specialist is giving back as a big brother himself. He is matched with a 17-year-old Oak Park neighbor, Sam Costa.
They are one of nearly 2,000 mentoring pairs set up by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Chicago. The pair don’t see each other every day, but as Sam has hopped from one stage of life to the next during the last four years, Kolawole has remained a lingering presence.
“That’s our 100-year-old model, and in 50 years it will be the same: one mentor and one child, meeting at least a few times a month over the course of a few years,” said Jeremy Foster, senior vice president of the group. “It’s about the stability and consistency of having the same person in that child’s life saying,‘I’m here for you, and I care about your future.’”

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