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Meet Big Brother Ryan Taughrin

We’ve all been told how important it is for children to have a positive role model in their life. A plethora of studies have shown that mentoring relationships has a positive impact on a child’s life; young adults who have been identified as at-risk but have a mentor are more likely to enroll in college and become contributing members of society.

Buffalo equips us with a slew of mentoring opportunities to introduce children to a new world and new experiences. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC) directly impacts the lives of hundreds of children in the Buffalo area each year through our mentoring programs. A majority of the children we service have been identified as at-risk and are facing adversity. We service these children by providing them with a one-on-one mentor for a minimum of one year.

Mentoring is a timely process that requires patience and compassion. To show some appreciation and honor local volunteers, we will focus the spotlight on a “Big” every month. To celebrate Thank Your Mentor Day, we are kicking the series off today! Meet Big Brother Ryan Taughrin who has been involved with BBBSEC for years. He started out as a Little Brother. Taughrin works at the University of Buffalo as a Graduate Recruitment Officer. He has one daughter and another on the way.

Taughrin reminisced on his experience with the program. “I didn’t have a father figure in my life, and BBBSEC matched me with a positive male role model, which is what I needed,” he said.

Taughrin wanted to give back to the program and applied to become a Big Brother. He has established a 4-½ year relationship with his Little Brother, Mikey.

Taughrin talked to us about his experience being a Big and what he has learned through the program.

What do you enjoy the most about being Big Brother?

My biggest thing I enjoy is the ability to build the bridges for my Little Brother, Mikey. I take some time to initiate and build trust with him, to understand his likes, his needs, and to understand what he wants out of our mentoring relationship. I try to be the thing that is constant in his life. My goal is to never let him down. Our relationship is something he can count on.

What have you learned about yourself through this journey?

I’ve learned quite a bit of patience. I was matched with my little when he was 10, and he is going to be 14 now. I learned a lot about how to read nonverbal cues and how to communicate more effectively with someone, especially someone you are matched with who you don’t have an established relationship with yet.

What has your little taught you that you otherwise would not have known?

The biggest thing he taught me is to be yourself. Sometimes I worry about how others perceive me. Mikey is not afraid to be who he is. His carefree out look on the world is something I try to take on. He brings that out in me.

How does BBBSEC impact Buffalo?

We have a lot of young people in the city of Buffalo who can use a positive reinforcement outside of the home and classroom. BBBSEC does that in a very direct way. BBBSEC directly connects Bigs with Littles to make a sustained relationship to help build and establish an example of what life can look like positively.

Written by Sara Ali

Sara Ali

Sara is a freelance writer living on Buffalo's West Side. She works full time in human services, part time in freelance, and is currently working towards her endeavor to create a nonprofit focused on telling the stories of the refugee and immigrant communities.

View All Articles by Sara Ali
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