'Race for Kids' kicks off in Prospect Park

Brooklyn Currents | 9/22/2013 | 0 comments

From NY1

Twelve-year-old Justin Pierre says his "big brother" Paul Pabon is always there for him.

"I needed someone like Paul, because I never had a dad who can have the same fun with me," Justin said.

The two aren't biologically related, but they became brothers through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC program.
Organizers of the RBC Race for Kids hoped to raise $1 million for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Pabon and Justin play sports, go to the movies and do homework together – just like brothers.

In the two and half years they've been together, Justin has changed a lot, Pabon said. "Now he's more confident, has higher self-esteem, and his grades have improved."

Paul and Justin were among about 3,500 people who took part in the "Race for the Kids," sponsored by the RBC financial institution, on Saturday, Sept. 22 in Prospect Park.

The goal of the 5K run and walk was to raise a million dollars for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

The money will help pay for the mentoring programs and other services the organization has been providing for more than 100 years.

The challenges kids face today are much more complex than what they contended with a century ago. Volunteers see it ll, from teen mothers to kids with parents in jail.

One thing that has not changed, however, is the impact a one-on-one relationship can make on a child.

"What we've found is that with the support of just one individual, one supportive relationship, you can make an enormous difference in their lives," said Jonathan Bram, president of the Board of Trustees for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Some of the kids say they just need some male or female bonding.

"I've always had a brother, but not a sister," said one girl. "Everyone in my school says,  'Yeah, I have a sister, I have a sister.' Now, I finally  have one."

"I can talk to Paul just like a brother would talk to a younger brother," Pierre said.

They now share a bond, just as strong as blood.


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