About Us: 2020 NJ Big Brother of the Year
- Ian Plotkin
“For almost 10 years, Ian has given me experiences I probably would have never had. He was always encouraging and allowed me to figure things out. He pushes you to be better than what you think you could be. That is what makes Ian special.” says Little Brother Shaquan
Big Brother Ian and Little Brother Shaquan were matched back in November 2010 when Shaquan was only five years old. His Nana was unsure about trusting a stranger with him but she wanted Shaquan to be part of something bigger, learn about others, and do different things. After meeting Ian, she felt reassured. Ian was extremely patient and unbelievably kind. “I wanted to give something back to the community in a way that would allow me to see firsthand the difference that I was making in somebody’s life.” – said Big Brother Ian
“It is a great feeling to have a part in guiding a young person and watching them grow. I look forward to being a part of my Little’s journey to adulthood. ” – says Big Brother Ian
Their bond began to grow and this young child began to blossom with curiosity and the desire to learn more about the world around him. Ian made it his duty to provide Shaquan with many first time experiences. Ian taught him how to tie his shoes, took him to the beach for the first time, taught him how to swim and even most recently exposing him to the world of shaving. These everyday made into this child for almost 10 years giving him a vision for his life that does not include limitations.
When Shaquan had some issues in school and was a little behind in his reading, they started a habit of going to the library and reading together as his grades improved. He now gets As and Bs. For his twelfth birthday, Ian took him to the bank to help him open his first savings account. He also coached Shaquan on how to play basketball and introduced him to robotics. This increased Shaquan’s confidence and as a result, he now plays basketball for his school team and sees many possibilities for his future after high school, including going to college.
Not only has Ian given Shaquan experiences, he has opened him up to a whole new world. Now, as a teenager, he has grown into a fine young man aspiring a career as an FBI agent. He has developed a strong sense of care, now trying to mentor others as his Big has done for him.
“I am not sure what I have taught my Big Brother but maybe I have given him the desire to continue to help others. ” – says Little Brother Shaquan
As a result of this mentoring relationship, they gave one another a purpose and hope. At the age of 16, Shaquan now feels like he can conquer the world. We believe he will.