Kevin Kuhlwein enjoyed serving on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. But he wanted to give back more directly. So when his youngest daughter graduated high school, the Crane Group vice president of information systems went all in and became a big brother to a young man named Hayden. Here, Kevin — who has volunteered over 120 hours so far this year — talks all things Big.
Q: You are passionate about being a Big Brother. How did you get involved?
A: While raising my own children, I realized how much guidance, mentoring, and positive influence kids need in order to grow into their potential. After my youngest graduated from high school, I decided I wanted to find a way to offer this type of support to other young people in the community. I became a Big Brother to Hayden and have been doing it now for four years.
Q: What is it like?
A: I became a Big Brother to Hayden when he was 9, and he’s now 13. While Big Brother asks you to meet at least once a month, I usually see Hayden three to four times a month. We also communicate via text and play games online together. He is super competitive and loves to play online games.
Q: What else do you enjoy together?
A: When we get together, I usually like to balance things that he likes to do with things that are new experiences for him. It’s been fun to see what he enjoys, like fishing and canoeing, and the things that he doesn’t, like night hikes or haunted houses. I hope that through all of these experiences, I’ve established a good relationship with Hayden so that he can trust me if and when he needs support in the future.
Q: Why is it so meaningful?
A: Through my experience as a parent, I know that it’s vital to have positive role models and positive influences as a child grows into an adult. My hope is to be one of the many positive influences for Hayden as he progresses into his teens and beyond.
Q: What is your most memorable give-back moment?
A: Hayden now also sees that it’s important to be a positive role model and to volunteer. He and I have cleaned a nearby park in his neighborhood several times. He now calls it “his” park!
Q: Why is giving back important to you?
A: I think there are so many areas where there is need, and if you have the time to help, it’s so impactful. And although there are many areas where we are giving back, I think this experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters has been the most rewarding for me.