Paying it forward
Mentor was ‘driving force’ of his childhood,
Big seeks to have same impact on his Little
As a young boy, stability was missing in Mike Boyle’s life. By the time he was in fifth grade, Mike had attended seven different schools, lived in the homes of several different family members, and only had sporadic contact with his father. But Mike did have important, stable relationships that he could count on: his grandparents, an uncle and his mentor.
Matched with Jim Ellini when Mike was 5, Jim helped guide Mike through his often tumultuous childhood. “Jim provided stability for me,” Mike says, “he visited with me regularly, enrolled me in soccer and was my soccer coach for more than five years. By visiting his home, I saw the kind of life I could have if I worked hard.” Mike and Jim are still close today, more than 23 years after their initial meeting.
A graduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Temple University in Pennsylvania, Mike is now married, living in Kalamazoo and working as a project manager for Aetna. And he is paying it forward by volunteering as a Big Brother.
Mike and 7-year-old Andrew were matched this past spring. “I had an awesome relationship with my mentor so I wanted to do that for someone else,” Mike says. “I want to have the same impact on him that Jim had on me because having Jim in my life was the driving force of my childhood.”