In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month we are highlighting Bigs that identify as Hispanic or LatinX via social media. Here are the responses from our newest Big in Blue Brother Manny.
What does Hispanic Heritage mean to me?
To me, Hispanic Heritage Month is the time of the year when we get to celebrate the accomplishments and remember the heroes of our culture. Not only do we as Hispanos get to celebrate amongst each other but it also serves as a reminder that we are an important part of this country. We get to share these milestones and stories with our entire nation. During this month long celebration, a great sense of pride and gratitude fills my spirit as I remember those important individuals and important dates in history which have not only shaped me but also my family, my friends and our people as a whole. It is very gratifying to see the great accomplishments that our Hispanic culture has achieved and how we have contributed to the greatness of our country. I also like this time of the year as it helps me reflect on those positive role models that have shaped me, the journey that I have travelled and what I have done to give my back to my community which is all part of the legacy of our cultura orgullosa!
What encouraged me to become a Big Brother?
The reason I became a Big Brother stems from a personal desire to leave this world a better place and what better way to do that than to be a good, positive role model for our youth! I grew up as an only male in a single parent household in South Phoenix and I recall how I always wanted to have a big brother presence in my life. The temptation to take the easy way out was always present but as we know, the easy way is not always the best way. I wanted a positive role model and I was able to find those positive role models in police officers, teachers and coaches. I remember how they used to motivate me and challenge me to do great things in my life. Fast forward from them to now and I can attest that I have been successful in not giving up and working hard to reach my goals. I am a proud husband, a father to three wonderful children, a guardian of my community and a Big Brother. I feel it is important to pass along the traits, experiences and things that I have learned along the way to those little brothers who want that positive force in their lives.
Why should anyone become a Big?
I would recommend that everyone at some point in their lives become a Big Brother or a Big Sister. It is a very noble and fulfilling experience. You get the opportunity to be a young person’s mentor, their coach, their friend! I think becoming a Big is very important especially in times such as these where we find uncertainty and a need for kindness and togetherness. Having a full time career and being a full time family man, I was unsure how much more I could give of myself to our community. However being a Big to my little brother, Chris, has shown me that there is always more to give. There’s nothing better than seeing my little brother’s face light up when we hang out. For those few hours that we hang out it is just us, having fun, playing sports, talking about school, life and bettering each other in the process.