‘Big Brother’ takes his role seriously

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Mentoring matters to Chad Brown (’01, JD ’06), who is North Carolina’s Big Brother of the Year for Big Brothers Big Sisters Services. He also won the Forsyth County Governor’s Volunteer Services Mentor Award.

The organization says Brown embodies the true meaning of its mission to provide children facing adversity with enduring, positive and professionally supported one-on-one relationships.

“A lack of mentoring is at least a partial cause of some of our society’s greatest problems, including school dropout rates, drug use and crime,” said Brown, an attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in Winston-Salem. “My role as a Big Brother has made me a better and more passionate advocate for the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency and the difference it makes in so many lives.”

Brown, on his second time participating as a Big Brother, became a site-based mentor in 2011 through the “Graduate. It Pays.” program. He was matched with his Little Brother, Erik, who was then a high school sophomore. Now a senior, Erik is making good grades and staying on task at home and in school.

At first he took the program as a joke and didn’t want to participate, Erik said. “However the day I met Chad that all changed. The first year we matched I wasn’t doing well in school. I was struggling with my classes and it wasn’t until right before exams my sophomore year that I realized I needed to turn my life around. I’m really happy that Chad and I were matched because if it weren’t for him coming into my life I don’t know where I’d be. He’s a great Big Brother, and I know he’s going to be in my life forever.”

In addition to serving as a Big Brother, Brown is a board member and public speaker advocating for the organization, as well as a fundraiser for Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

“Consistent, impactful mentoring — the kind performed by hundreds of Big Brothers and Big Sisters in my county alone … that kind of mentoring is transformative, and it is helping to reverse the trend lines for children around us who need it the most.”

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