KGUN 9 On Your SideNewsSpirit of Southern Arizona


Dozens of boys are waiting for mentors in Southern Arizona

As the sun rises at the border, you see dozens of children and teenagers with their backpacks on ready to make their way from Mexico to Arizona for school.
Posted at 6:46 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 09:48:04-04

Bursting out into song. It's moments like this that are common between Big Brother Miguel Cruz and his Little Gabriel Cota.

"You still have black hairs. Very little, but still," said Gabriel.

A silly and special bond is growing.

"We know a lot of Spanish. We like food a lot, " Miguel said

Food is a way to their hearts.

"We learn a lot when we go and eat because I think through food we are able to connect," said Miguel.

They’re connecting and making lots of great memories along the way like exploring Gabriel’s culinary creations.

"Waffles with Chulula hot picante sauce and he thought they were great. So, I was ok go and eat them," said Miguel.

Through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program the two have been matched for about six months

"His energy. That curiosity that came all together and that’s what makes him unique," said Miguel.

The pair says it’s been a perfect match.

"Because we have a lot of things in common," Miguel added.

"Before I had a really down mindset and now that I’m with Miguel he’s really helped me cheer up a lot," said Gabriel.

While Miguel gives his time, they’re both getting so much in return.

"He's a very good human being even at just 10 years old."Miguel said.

"He's really kind and he’s never rude to anybody," said Gabriel.

"As Gabe gets older, I hope the little things that we get from each other they’re going to help him to become a better man and a better human being as well," said Miguel.

The two are looking forward to more learning, playing, and of course singing.
Mentors like Miguel are very much needed especially for young boys.

Right now, there are 82 boys on the waiting list for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona. Research proves that mentoring relationships have positive lasting effects on children and teens.

Here is a look at some of the studies the BBBS of Southern Arizona shared with Kgun 9.

• Students who meet regularly with their mentors are 52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school and
37% less likely to skip a class

• Kids that have a mentor are 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than
those who did not.

If you would like to learn more about how to become a mentor, click here.