Real Life stories - LEARNING TO BE A MAN

When Sylvester Fulton speaks of mentoring, he uses the word "obligation."  Of course, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t enjoy every moment he spends with Jeremy, his Little Brother for the last six years.  What it does mean, however, can be summed up in these words.  "For those to whom much is given ... much is required."

What Sylvester was given, as a boy, was the role model of a strong father who worked hard, served his community and took care of him.  He knows he’s become the man he is today because of the example his father set.  From him, Sylvester says, "I learned to be a man ... and I am obligated to help boys become men."

Becoming a man, he feels, starts with having a strong male role model.  "Too many African American boys endure negative maturation," Sylvester says, "because of a lack of mentoring."  That’s one reason he’s answered the call to volunteer time and time again.  That includes not only the six wonderful years he’s spent as Jeremy’s Big Brother, but also many other special opportunities along the way, such as playing Santa Claus at the community after school program.

The time spent with Sylvester has given Jeremy countless skills and confidence.  "He taught me life's lessons - the importance of making good grades in school and how a good education is the key to a successful life in this world.  By spending time with my mentor, I have improved my social skills. Now, I am less shy and I try to make new friends with students at my school and in my community."  Remembering the lessons he learned as a boy, Sylvester says this of Jeremy: "It is my deepest hope that Jeremy, in turn, will invest in others."

Sylvester Fulton accepted his Big Brother of the Year award last month in Indianapolis.  We extend our warmest congratulations and thanks to him for the work he’s done, the time he’s given, and the example he’s set.  "If Mr. Fulton could be cloned, our agency would no longer suffer from a shortage of African-American male mentors," says Kimberly Davis, Program Director.

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