DENVER (CBS4) – On Sept. 7, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Colorado will participate in Xcel Energy’s Day of Service for the first time. Volunteers will help organize a Play Day for matches and their families.
“I like playing basketball and football. Just being outside, just having fun,” said Levi Ibarra, a 9th grader with a bright future.
“I kind of want to go to med school, maybe go in the medical field, but I got to work hard to get that.”
Levi has been matched with mentor Yasin Abdullahi through Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Colorado.
“That’s Yasin, he’s my good friend, you know, he’s cool,” said Levi.
“I really do see him almost like a little brother. I don’t have to talk to him like an adult, talks to a child, I can really joke around with him like a big brother does with a little brother,” said Abdullahi.
The two are part of program piloted in Colorado called Sports Buddies.
“It’s really honestly just having fun,” said Abdullahi. “Once or twice a month I get to play soccer and dodgeball and kickball and things I haven’t done since I was a kid and it’s pretty awesome.”
For Levi, the connection with Abdullahi has been transformational.
“It’s nice to know that I always have a friend, someone I could go to and just say ‘Hey, you want to go play basketball?’ To get my mind off things.”
For Abdullahi, this opportunity to give back has become a welcome respite from the realities and demands of day-to-day life.
“Me being a kid that could maybe be in this program as a child, seeing that I could help, just giving one day out of the month is really fulfilling,” he said.