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Two lives forever changed through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona

Posted at 5:30 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 12:22:29-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Big Brother Bret and his Little Kellan are in their element. "We spend a lot of time just outside, exploring the outdoors. Photography, hiking, fishing," said Bret.

And learning fun facts along the way. "Whenever we're hiking, he likes to point out different plants and stuff and trees it's pretty cool," said Kellan.

Bret and Kellan have been matched for almost six years through Big Brothers Big sisters of Southern Arizona " I never have any ideas, but he always comes up with ideas," said Kellan.

Ideas that turn into great memories. "When we went up to Mt. Lemmon when there was a lot of snow. We were up there for a few hours and that was pretty fun," said Kellan.

"Recently, canoeing at Patagonia Lake was probably one of my favorite outings we've done. Who did most of the paddling?" Bret asked Kellan as he laughed.

While exploring the outdoors, the pair is discovering even more about themselves. "Before I was a lot more shy I think. I didn't like making new friends," said Kellan
"He's very creative. Whether he's making up songs in the car as we're driving down the road someplace," said Bret.

"It's moments like this, big or small, that are life changing in so many ways, essentially, Kellan's become a part of my family," said Bret.

During a very tough time, Bret saw just how thoughtful his little brother Kellan is.
"The very first Father's Day after my dad passed away, Kellan sat down with me and just started asking questions about my dad and started drawing a picture," said Bret.

A moment Bret will never forget. "His thoughtfulness has always blown me away for his age," said Bret.

For Kellan, this friendship is exactly what he was missing. "My mom is a single parent and I'm an only child too. I still had friends when I was younger, but I didn't have a sibling or something to hang out with when I was at home," said Kellan.

And then he met Brett. "I'm also an only child. So, I think that's one way that Kellan and I have really connected over the years," said Bret.

"I was able to go out on adventures and stuff and that was pretty fun," said Kellan.
Adventures that many teens just like Kellan are in need of.

"There is a lot of youth out there that could use a positive adult role model in their life, especially men. Seeing more men volunteer with this organization would be a wonderful thing to see here in Tucson," said Bret.

Research from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona shows here in Pima County, 40% of children live in a single parent home and a staggering 48% live below the federal poverty line.

That's nearly double the state average of 25%. Big Brothers Big Sisters said most of the boys in their program do not have a consistent male role model in their life.

More than 80 boys are on the wait list in Southern Arizona. If you want to learn more about mentoring with big brothers big sisters, click here.