When Gavin joined Big Brothers Big Sisters in 2021, he was incredibly quiet and soft-spoken, and sharing his feelings with others was a hard thing to do.
Matthew Rothfork also tended to be more soft-spoken when he and Gavin met, but he has helped Gavin come out of his shell and find the words to express his emotions. Their first meeting was virtual due to COVID restrictions, and Gavin was hesitant, but Matthew did a lot of the talking when Gavin wouldn’t, and helped build up trust to develop a friendship.
After a few meetings Gavin was talking more and answering questions, and thanks to Matthew’s patience and consistency, he’s continued to come out of his shell. “He’s very kept to himself, but whenever we go and play games he seems to light up,” Matthew said. “He seems to have a lot more fun, he’s talking a lot more, and it’s fun to see him lighten up and get out of his comfort zone.”
Matthew’s consistency and time spent helping Gavin grow earned him the title of Central Minnesota High School Big Brother of the Year in 2023.
In the two years they’ve been matched, Gavin is less nervous to talk to people, and he enjoys sharing the fun activities that he and Matthew do together. He also wants Matthew to help him learn to play basketball and tennis.
Matthew has also grown through the match as he’s become more outgoing, and is able to better help his peers come out of their shells. He is dependable and consistent, and encourages others to get involved with BBBS.
“(Being a Big has) helped me to see how I can help others,” he said. “It’s so cool to see what impact you can have on somebody else and how you can make them feel way better throughout their day.”