Josh Paul is a police officer with the Bettendorf, Iowa Police Department. When Kobe was a 5th grader (7 years ago), he was matched with Josh. It’s very possible that this match will change the course of Kobe’s life.
Kobe was in a tough situation growing up. There was a history of incarceration in his family and during his youth, Kobe spent much of his time watching TV in the basement or playing video games. He was very sullen and in desperate need of a male role model. Kobe’s mom requested a Big for her son who was either in the military or community service, like a police officer or fire fighter. The enrollment staff found the perfect match in Josh.
When they were first matched, Josh had to be the one with all the ideas about things to do. That was ok – Kobe was cool with that. Josh arranged for them to try out all sorts of activities – kayaking, fishing, rec league softball, going to RiverBandit games. They also took advantage of many BBBS staffed activities like annual picnics, outings, educational activities, etc. They focused on having fun together.
As their relationship grew, Kobe began to open up. Josh learned about Kobe’s situation at home. Josh asked Kobe at one point, “what would be different in your life if you didn’t have a Big Brother?” Kobe thought about it a bit then replied, “It would be boring and I’d probably be doing bad things.”
Josh showed Kobe a different way. He took Kobe to work with him to explore police work as a possible career. Josh encouraged Kobe to join ROTC in his Freshman year in High School. Then Kobe began to get involved with the color guard, drill team and shooting team.
Kobe is a senior in high school and about to graduate in the spring of 2019. He is exploring a career in the military among many other options.
Josh saw the potential in Kobe and is making sure that he, as a Big Brother, defends that potential.