Over 150 mentors are needed at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Arizona (BBBS Southern Arizona) for boys and girls. 90% of those kids waiting are boys who need a positive role model.

This community-based mentoring is geared towards spending quality time with a child in need. It doesnt require much outside of being a friend they can look up to.

BBBS Southern Arizona is especially in need of male volunteers to be a big for young boys.

Meet Gabriel Portillo Cruz and Miguel Cota.

A duo whove been “big and little brothers” since October 2020.

Portillo Cota is 13-years-old, but was just 9-years-old when he was partnered with Cruz.

I went through a couple of big brothers before I met him,” said Portillo Cota. “So, I didnt know what was gonna end up happening, but I got matched with the right big.

I met the brothers at Jacob’s Park today to talk about their favorite things to do and seeing their dynamic was heartwarming. The brothers tell me they love to eat, race on go-karts and watch movies. I quickly caught on to how they finish each others’ sentences and make each other laugh every chance possible. It’s a perfect match!

Marie Logan, CEO of BBBS Southern Arizona says the non-profit typically has more boys than girls enrolled in their program who need the right mentor. Logan says not enough Tucson men are volunteering. Right now, they have 100 boys who are waiting for a big.

It takes a little bit longer to convince men in the community to volunteer,” said Logan. “Once they do, we know that the men and the boys always stick together for a really long time and they have a really great time together.

Cruz tells me although hes there to be a good example for Portillo Cota, hes learned a lot from the teenager. The 13-year-old brings out his inner child, especially on the days when they race on the go-karts at Funtastix.

I wish I could have a magic wand to say to mostly men here in the community in Tucson to really invest their time,” Cruz said. “The best time that theyre gonna have is investing their time with another little human being.

Portillo Cruz tells me he would become a mentor himself when he gets older. He says before joining the program, he would stay at home and not do much. The 13-year-old says life has gotten better since getting Cruz as his big brother.

Click here if you’re interested in becoming a “big”.