UW Student, Employee Named Wyoming’s Bigs of the Year
This year’s Wyoming State Big Brother and State Big Sister are Michael McNamee, a UW Admissions representative and graduate student in public administration and environment and natural resources; and Stacie Faxon of Laramie, a University of Wyoming junior majoring in elementary education and English.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring agency that pairs children with adults in one-to-one friendships for a mutual benefit. Volunteers meet their “Littles” for a few hours about once a week, depending on their schedule, and spend time together doing activities.
Faxon has been matched with her Little Sister, Teagan, for three years. She says Teagan was very shy and reserved when they were first matched, but that did not last long.
“Once we realized we shared interests in eating banana splits, doing arts and crafts, and bike riding, things really started to take off,” Faxon says.
Teagan’s mom noted, “This match has grown into a mutual relationship of taking and giving. They can even just sit and talk, and be happy with the time they spend together.”
Faxon knew that becoming a Big Sister would make a positive difference in a child’s life, but she was pleasantly surprised at the impact it has had on her own life, too.
McNamee has been matched with his Little Brother, David, for six years. He says it doesn’t feel like a duty, but an opportunity to spend time with a friend or a real little brother on a regular basis.
In addition to the different sports they both enjoy, McNamee has helped David apply himself and appreciate school. McNamee has taken him to campus and shown him how fun college could be. In fact, they don’t talk about “if” he goes to college. Rather, they talk about “when.”
“It is crucial that he sees what college can do for him,” McNamee says.
“We both hope that our friendship is something that will continue throughout our lives,” adds McNamee, who received a bachelor’s degree in journalism at UW in 2010.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national program that has been around for more than 100 years. The Laramie program started in 1971 and, currently, there are 52 matches in Albany County. The nation’s oldest and most effective youth mentoring organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters, mentors children ages 5 through high school graduation.
Michael McNamee and Little Brother David enjoy a UW football game together.