Congratulations to April’s Mentor of the Month, Raphael Mercuri!
The following is written by Raphael and Christian’s Program Coordinator, Kohl Martin.
Raphael and Christian have been matched for about 5 months and it has been really great to watch this match progress. Raphael is very caring, connected, and engaging with Christian. Initially, Raphael was a bit nervous as most Bigs are but, he really began to connect with Christian. Raphael has shown Christian so many new things and built on the interests he already has.
Raphael has definitely taken advantage of the BBBST outings and offerings as well as come up with some great outings of their own. They have gone to play Ultimate Frisbee with UA team, the Gem Show, they have been hiking at Sabino Canyon, and they decorated and rode on the Tucson Rodeo Parade float. Mom and Raphael both said they almost every outing either begins or ends at a park. They said they play soccer or play on the playground. Raphael said that he can never seem to wear Christian out.
They were originally matched in part because they live so close. Raphael’s wife has fibro myalgia and needs fairly constant care. They only live a few minutes apart and that helps with going to outings so if his wife needed him, he wouldn’t be too far away. Raphael is originally from Belgium and his mother and brothers are still there. He said keeps contact with them and tries to get back when he can. Raphael is a mechanical engineer that specializes in designing and making medical equipment.
He is extremely well-rounded and has a wide variety of interests. He said it makes it easy to come up with different types of outings and never do the same thing twice unless they want to. Raphael exemplifies what it means to be a great Big. He is so good with Christian and during match support, he is super excited and happy to talk about his Big Brother. Raphael is kind, encouraging, and a fun guy to be around and that is why he is the Big of the month for April 2016.