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Jewish Big Brothers & Sisters

By on April 19, 2013

When watching Glenn Crocker, 33, and Jason Kotkin, 10, play a game of catch at the local park, it would be easy to mistake the two for father and son. Both participate in baseball leagues and frequently attend each other’s games.

Each is often the loudest fan in the stands, cheering the other on. Jason carefully listens to Glenn’s advice, benefiting from the tips that Glenn provides, from adjusting his batting stance to catching fly balls.

Glenn and Jason are not related, but through the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles mentoring program they have become brothers over the past three years, spending quality time together. They have been going to the movies, visiting museums, playing golf, fishing, surfing and even taking a snowboarding trip which Glenn planned as a gift for Jason’s birthday. For Glenn, the mentoring he provides Jason is invaluable to him as a father.

“I just had my son two years ago, and the experience I get as a role model is great training for fatherhood,” says Glenn. “I can take what I’ve done with Jason and apply it to my own life. It’s about being an adult and setting a good example.”

The JBBBSLA, an organization that has been matching pairs of Bigs and Littles for over 90 years, knew it found a perfect fit when the questionnaires that Glenn and Jason filled out revealed similar interests in many of the activities and sports they now play together. With so many opportunities to bond over these shared interests, coupled with Glenn’s proximity to Calabasas, where Jason lives with his mother and younger brother Ryan, JBBBSLA determined that the pair was sure to have infinite opportunities to bond and get to know one another.

Jason’s mother Cheryl approached the JBBBSLA program because she wanted to make sure that Jason had a positive male role model to look up to and learn from, since Jason’s father passed away when Jason was just a young boy. Cheryl is so happy with the positive effect mentoring has had on her son that she has since found a mentor through the organization for his brother Ryan, as well.

“When I watch the two of them together, I can tell that Glenn supports Jason by his actions and by how he talks to him,” says Cheryl. “I know that others, including their coaches and friends see the connection as well.”

In addition to enjoying the multitude of activities that Glenn treats him to, Jason realizes at his young age the importance of the guidance that Glenn provides.

“Glenn really helps me, and not just with one thing, but with everything,” says Jason. “I learn how to be more responsible, and I get to meet knew people. It’s great having him as a Big Brother.”

As a Big Brother, Glenn receives unique, personal satisfaction as he watches the changes that occur in Jason, and Glenn has found that some of his most memorable moments occur when he and Jason do something as simple as playing catch, allowing Jason a forum for opening up to Glenn.

“Lately, I can tell that Jason really takes my advice to heart,” says Glenn. “He is becoming a more responsible individual, and I see it in his interaction with his mom, his brother and others. It’s an incredible feeling, watching him grow up and mature, knowing that I’m making a difference in his life.”

Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles helps many youth in the community including several of Persian background.   For more information about how to get involved with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles, please visit the Web site www.jbbbsla.org or contact Katie Koski at 323-761-8675 x 36 and kkoski@jbbbsla.org.

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