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.

(credit: CBS)

“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.

Yasin Abullahi (credit: CBS)

“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.

Levi Ibarra (credit: CBS)

“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.”

(credit: CBS)

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.

LINKS: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado | Xcel Energy’s Day Of Service

Joel Hillan

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