Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest in need of more ‘bigs’ after $1.5 million donation

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 9:18 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - Zachary Caldwell was called to be a big brother five years ago, after deciding he wanted to be a role model like those he’s had in his own life.

“My grandparents actually passed away and I kinda had a moment of reflecting on them as role models for me and how fortunate I was, you know? So, kind of as a way to honor them, because I don’t have kids myself, I figured I should pass that along to someone else,” he said.

Just about four years ago, he was matched with 9-year-old Taye Smith, and they’ve had plenty of fun since.

“We do things like go roller skating, go play sports, go to the movies,” Caldwell said.

“It’s been really nice because we’ve done so many fun things,” Taye said.

It’s connections like these Big Brothers Big Sisters wants to make happen. Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest just got a $1.5 million donation from Mackenzie Scott and they’re hoping to share it with more kids in the area.

Right now, Chief Development Officer, Cynthia Thompson, said there are more than 226 “littles” waiting to be matched with “bigs” in our area, but there aren’t enough mentors to go around.

“They can’t be matched with a mentor until we have a mentor,” Thompson said. “When you look at the kids on our waiting list, about 60 to 70% of them are boys of color. So, we are looking for men - African American, Black, Hispanic men to hear this message tonight to learn about these resources that’ll be directed toward them.”

Once those matches are made, Caldwell said both “bigs” and “littles” benefit.

“I think of it as a way for me to go do fun things I wouldn’t normally do on my own,” Caldwell said. “Anything that he hasn’t done, those are the things I like to do with him. He might like it, he might hate it but at least he’s trying something new.”

If you’re interested in signing up to be a big brother or sister, you can go to their website to learn more.