Larry Williams, named the 2013 Michigan Big Brother of the Year! Williams, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., a national and local Big Brothers Big Sisters partner, a Big Brother with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit, was selected amidst nominated Bigs throughout Michigan.
The nomination process request that agencies recommend Bigs (mentors) who have helped their Little (mentee) reach a special achievement such as an improved GPA or self-esteem, and an individual who has not only served as a mentor, but someone who has gone above and beyond for the agency.
“Larry Williams is a shining example worthy for others to follow,” shared Dara Munson, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit. “He is a member of the community leading by example and we thank him for being a committed Big, advocate and supporter of our mission, and most importantly, his Little, Akario.”
Larry and Akario were matched four years ago after Akario’s mother enrolled her sons in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit program because she wanted her boys to experience new things and have positive male role models. Akario was very excited to have a Big Brother and Larry, who had recently retired, was as equally excited.
“Watching Akario realize his potential is why I joined Big Brothers Big Sisters. I never intended to be a parent or guidance counselor. I had no expectations,” expressed Williams. “My only goal was to be a good example, serve as a positive role model, and take a genuine interest in a young man’s life.”
Akario, not unlike many young men today, was not living up to his potential. Despite his obvious intelligence he was not performing as well as he could in school. He was quick to anger and when he became frustrated at school he would tune out.
During their outings, Larry and Akario would talk about what made him angry and how he could avoid the things that triggered his frustrations. Whenever they were together, Larry made a point to let Akario know that he believed in his abilities, and that with the right focus and effort his potential was limitless.
“I knew if Akario challenged his potential, he could accomplish great things; nevertheless I was astounded to see what he was able to achieve. Words cannot describe the overwhelming pride that I felt, when Akario handed me his last report card and I learned that he earned a 4.0 grade point average,” shared Williams. “Even more rewarding, was observing the level of satisfaction that Akario had over his accomplishment. He set a goal, dedicated the necessary amount of effort, and then accomplished what he set out to do.”