Mentoring programs pair young people with strong role models who encourage them to reach for the stars.

man mentors youth male holding a basketball

Being There: A story of two lives changed for the better.

When Big Brother Brian Pulley and Little Brother Jarvel Pope met, both were dealing with struggles in their personal lives. Brian was picking up the pieces after a divorce, and Jarvel was an elementary school student in need of a male role model. The two began getting to know each other and spending time together each week.

Fast-forward more than five years, and this pair is seemingly unstoppable. Brian, now remarried, is a doting husband and father of a young daughter. Jarvel, a high school student and gifted point guard, plays varsity and club basketball and has his sights set on college.

“He was very quiet when I first met him,” Brian said. “Jarvel was a child. Now he’s becoming a man. He has confidence and energy when he comes into the room.”

The Pulley and Pope families have grown close, celebrating holidays and birthdays together. Jarvel stood beside Brian as the best man in his wedding. Brian cheers on Jarvel during basketball games and helps him focus on schoolwork.

“He understands me,” said Jarvel of his Big Brother. “We have a lot in common, and I can talk to him about anything.”

Brian sees some of himself in Jarvel, and the two have developed a strong bond built on trust.

“When we’re together, the world just tunes out,” said Brian. “No matter what I’ve been going through… all of that goes away when I’m with Jarvel.”

As the first in his family to attend college, Brian beat the odds to earn a master’s degree and build a successful career. He knows that Jarvel can do whatever he sets his mind to accomplish.

“He has such a big heart,” said Brian. “He inspires me to be a better person.”

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