2012 Big Brother of the Year Joel Cooper

Big Brother Joel Cooper became a “Big” because “I feel mentoring and helping our youth is important for a healthy community” Joel has shown, through his actions, that he truly believes those words.

Joel and Little Brother Tim have been “matched” since June 2011. In that timeframe Joel has helped LB Tim in ways neither of them could imagine. Sometimes we hear questions like, “does being a Big Brother really make a difference?”, “does it have a lasting impression?” etc. Tim is a shining example that the answer to both of those questions is YES, it matters and YES it makes a difference!

Joel and Tim.
Joe and Tim.

Joel and Tim have been together for a little over a year and in that time frame Tim’s self confidence has grown. He is no longer afraid to try new things. He has learned the value of working for what you want; how to set a goal and how to pursue that goal until it is is achieved; and how to be healthy, both physically and mentally.

Did Joel sit and have long talks and share his immense wisdom with Tim, in order for Tim to learn these lessons? No, he simply shared the things he loved to do with Tim and supported Tim when he expressed a goal or dream. For instance:

  • Tim wanted to go on a long camping trip. One that cost money. Money he didn’t have. So Joel helped Tim get involved in community service projects as a way to earn a scholarship to the camp.
  • Joel took Tim rock climbing at the Bay Club in Homer. When they first started going Tim was afraid of the rock wall and couldn’t reach the top. However, he set a goal to reach the top and after a year of working and going a little more each time, he reached the top! It is hard to tell who was more excited, Tim or Joel!
  • Tim told Joel that he wanted to start getting healthier and eating better, he recognized the benefit of living a long healthy life. Joel went with Tim and his Mom to a free consultation with Homer Physical Therapy on exercise and nutrition so that they could all work together to help Tim achieve his goal. Tim and Joel are now involved in a walking club, have started taking Karate, and they go biking and of course rock climbing.

Joel always makes sure they have time to talk as well. He said, “some of the best times together are spent playing chess and discussing things that are happening in our lives, both good and bad. Some of our discussion about a book we both read, or a movie we just saw can be refershing and thought provoking.”

Tim’s mom Cara expresses Joel’s role in her sons life very simply, “Joel has been FABULOUS as a Big for Tim!”

Thank you Joel for being such a great role model, supportive and caring! You truly bring the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters to life!