Helping Hands: Change Lives Part Three

By: Courtney Lassiter
By: Courtney Lassiter

It's more than a good deed. It's deciding to change your lifestyle to promote well-being around you.

"We ride horses, four-wheel, farm and mess around in the woods, and he's a video game nut," said Andy Shultz, a Western Kentucky University student, about his Little Brother Jerodius Massey. "He's got respect for himself and for others. He's grown up a lot."

According to Jerodius, this is one of the best Big Brother Little Brother combinations you can find because life with Andy is just plain good.

"It is better with my big brother," Jerodius said.

After all, he remembers what life was like without him. "I used to not do my work and run around and jump on desks," Jerodius admited.

"When you'd get onto him he'd constantly, he'd look down at the ground," said Wendy McClure, fifth-grader Jerodius's current teacher. "If it was Jerodius have a seat, he'd get really angry."

Grandmother, Debby Massey agreed. "If anybody looked at him, he was ready to fight them." Jerodius was angry.

Neglected as a child with parents who weren't ready to give up a lively social world, Jerodius was left at home with his ailing great grandfather for hours on end. Often he'd act out his frustration at school.

"Any kind of attention they can get, if they can't get it positively they'll find a way to get somebody involved even if it's from negative behavior," McClure said about Jerodius being the center of negative attention.

"In third grade the crowd he hung around with were the ones who cut up and acted up --giving him more attention," McClure added.

But, that was two years ago. In September of his third grade year Debby, desperate to help, gained custody of Jerodius and his two siblings.

"When I first got Jerodius he was quiet, to himself, now since Andy come into his life he's completely different; he's a happy child," Grandma Debby said with a smile.

Debby looked into Big Brothers Big Sisters in hopes of finding a positive male role model for Jerodius, and she found one in Andy Shultz, a student at Western Kentucky University, looking to get involved in a program where he could help change a child's life.

It wasn't long for the two to hit it off, and for his teacher and grandmother to see his behavior drastically improve.

"Oh, I'm so proud of Jerodius he's come a long way," Debby exclaimed.
According to McClure, she saw Jerodius's grades go from D's and C's to A's and B's.

"He can be my doctor, my lawyer, something one day. He's very, very bright," McClure said.

McClure also said Jerodius has even won awards for reading and a lot of his test scores are posted outside her classroom for the whole school to see.

"After the first week of school, I said to him, 'You are not the same Jerodius I had before." He's a totally different kid," McClure said.

Statistics show children with positive role models do better in school and are more likely to pass on the positive characteristics to their siblings.

Jerodius is the oldest of his siblings and has already started leading by example in class and at home.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program where volunteers help children reach their potential through one-on-one relationships. Statistics on their website show children in the program are:

  • 53% less likely to skip school
  • 46% less likely to use drugs
  • More likely to get along with family and friends.
  • Call (270) 781-1180 to reach Big Brothers Big Sisters in Bowling Green, Ky.


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