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Brothers in Hope: Mark & Carter’s Story of Healing and Fun

February 2024

Mark knew his role as a Big meant making a difference in a child's life. But when tragedy struck the family he was matched with, his commitment went above and beyond, forging a powerful bond with two brothers forever connected by loss.
Mark was originally paired with Dallas, a vibrant young boy who quickly saw him as “like a real brother.” Their shared love of sports, family, and fun fueled their adventures, from dinners and outings to memories captured on iPhone videos. But their journey was cut short when Dallas unexpectedly passed away from gun violence in June 2023.

Grief could have pushed Mark away, but he did the opposite. He knew Carter, Dallas’ younger brother, was also hurting. So, Mark reached out, offering not just support, but a chance to rebuild a connection they’d already begun. Officially matched in August 2023, their match journey began.

In just five months, Mark has made a profound impact on Carter’s life. “He helps me get out of the house and just have fun,” says Carter, echoing his mom’s sentiments. Mark introduces him to new experiences, from Top Golf to rock climbing, reminding him to have fun despite the pain. They even share conversations and memories of Dallas, keeping his spirit alive.

Mark, too, has found solace in their connection. “I see myself in Carter,” he shares, reflecting on his own loss of a brother to gun violence. “This is certainly not the way either of us wanted to be acquainted, but with this shared grief 

“I have learned that family does not have to be related to you by blood. I’ve also learned that being a Big Brother has given me a purpose that I never knew I needed, but am grateful to be a part of.”

Together, they’re healing, laughing, and making new memories. Carter’s hidden musical talent shines through his beat-making, with Mark his biggest cheerleader. Their shared passion for music, sports, and family creates a unique language only they understand.

This is more than just a match; it’s a testament to the power of human connection in the face of adversity. Mark and Carter’s story is a beacon of hope, reminding us that even in the darkest moments, kindness, brotherhood, and shared experiences can light the way forward.

Every year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Michigan chooses two Matches in the mentoring program, as the Matches of the Year

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