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I think deep down we hall have a calling to give back

Big urges other young, single men to volunteer

One would think that it would be difficult for a kid to teach the assistant general manager of the Kalamazoo Growlers something new about baseball. But, this is in fact the case, says Big Brother John Bollinger.

Bollinger’s Little Brother Santiago is a serious student of the game who can spout off statistics about a number of aspects of the sport. “I learn something new about baseball every time I talk to Santiago,” Bollinger says.

During their year and a half long friendship, the pair has bonded over their shared love of baseball and, since Santiago may want to pursue a career similar to Bollinger’s, the teen occasionally spends time with his Big at the Growler’s front office.

Bollinger says the time he spends with Santiago offers him a respite from his busy schedule. “My job can be consuming and this causes me to step back and look at the bigger picture.

“Santiago is going through the same things I did at his age,” Bollinger continues. “I remember that time in my life and it was a lot of self-discovery. I’m the oldest in my family so I figured a lot of things out on my own.”

He draws on these memories when talking with Santiago so perhaps he doesn’t feel all on his own as he transitions through his teen years.

Bollinger stepped forward to become a Big Brother soon after moving to Kalamazoo for his job and urges other young, single men to consider doing the same. “I think we all deep down have a calling to give back, but often times put it off with worries about commitment or we just don’t think we have enough time.

“We give time to what we make a priority in our lives. From my experience, it’s been the best time spent.”