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Meet the Big Duos Match: Jeremiah, Mary, & Paul

Big Brothers Big Sisters is excited to announce the official launch of Big Duos! You may be familiar with our Big Couples program, where a couple mentors a young person together. Big Duos is an expansion of Big Couples, allowing best friends, partners, co-workers, spouses, or siblings to mentor a child together.

Jeremiah is a 10-year-old Little Brother with two Bigs— Mary and Paul Roobol— through the BBBS Big Duos program. In this program, two people mentor a young person together for at least two hours, twice per month. Together, they build a friendship that empowers the youth to realize and own their potential.

A Big Impact

When the trio first met in December 2018, Krystal, Jeremiah’s mom, was unsure about the idea of him being matched with a Big Duo (then a Big Couple)  since it’s not the traditional Big Brother/Little Brother mentoring model. Once Jeremiah started spending time with the Roobols and Krystal realized how wonderful they were, she was thrilled. “I just appreciate them so much… I couldn’t imagine him being matched with anyone else.”

From the left, Jeremiah, Mary Roobol, and Paul Roobol, all sitting outside on a bench,
Jeremiah, Mary, and Paul are matched in BBBS' Big Duos program, where two people mentor a young person together.

A Big Friendship

Since then, Jeremiah, Mary, and Paul have built a friendship bigger than anything they ever imagined. Gaining just as much from the friendship as the Little does is something many Bigs, including the Roobols, find themselves surprised by. “We scored the jackpot. There’s nobody we would like better,” Paul shares, looking at Jeremiah proudly. Mary smiles and remarks, “He has taught us how to be flexible, and to find humor in every situation… Like the time we went to the zoo in the rain!”

Big Adventures

From sledding at Kindleberger Park to teaching Jeremiah how to swim, the Roobols are always taking him on new adventures. Paul laughs, recalling a time they went to the Air Zoo. “We got on the flight simulator and when we found ourselves upside down in the ride, Jeremiah squealed, ‘We’re gonna die!’”

BBBS provides top-notch experiences and access to tickets so we’re never focused on spending money on the match. It has shown us what we can do in the community and gives him the opportunity to do things he may not have been able to do otherwise. Paul Roobol

Big Surprises

Active and enthusiastic, Mary and Paul applied to become Bigs as a retired couple who wanted to give back to the community. “It was a pleasant surprise, what a gentleman he is,” Mary explains.

Jeremiah experienced surprises of his own when he met the Roobols. “I thought they were going to be rude! A lot of old people I know are rude,” Jeremiah explains bluntly. “I started rethinking that maybe not all old people are rude… That’s a lesson that I learned.

When the trio met, Jeremiah was shy and hesitant to share his opinions or thoughts. “I’m proud for him and the ways that he has developed agency,” Mary explains. “He has really developed a voice and shares what he likes and needs. He is the leader in where we go.

From left: Mary, Jeremiah, and Paul stand smiling at the camera wearing BBBS tshirts.
“It is a wonderfully rewarding experience, and it’s important for people to realize that twice per month is not a significant amount of time at all.” -Mary Roobol

When asked to share some encouragement to anyone considering becoming a Big, Paul shares, “We get as much, if not more out of it, than we give. It gets us out exploring things that appeal to younger people. His sophistication has grown so much over the years.”

“They make me really, really happy,” Jeremiah brings forward. “They’re a really great couple.”

If you know a child that would benefit from a Big please click here. If you’d like to become a Big, or you know someone who’d make a great Big, please click here.