KNOXVILLE, Tenn — Antoina Whitmore's heart swells when she sees her sons belly laughing with their big brothers.
"I don't know what I would do without them, they're so great," she smiled.
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Her oldest son, Steven, was matched with Andy Huddleston years ago through Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.
"He was little, like little brother big brother. Now he's like 6'5" or something," Andy laughed. "We love still playing sports. We go to the YMCA and play basketball a lot. That's kind of our favorite thing to do, and we almost always do a dessert so we try all the different milkshake places around town."
Steven loves trying to find the best one.
"Probably Kilwins on the strip," he smiled. "They've got some good ice cream. My favorite is vanilla."
It's just icing on the cake to Steven who says hanging out with Andy is what matters most.
"Really just spending time. It doesn't really matter just spending time," he said.
Right now more than 150 children are on the waiting list for mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee.
"Guys need to be around older guys that have been around the block a time or two, made a few mistakes and can talk about those and encourage them and be a cheerleader for them," Andy said. "I've had a handful of guys in my life that meant a lot to me and that were a little bit older, and I just think that's a big deal for any guy."
Steven's mother is grateful for the match, too, and so is her son, who believes everyone needs a role model like his.
"It will only make your life better, more positive, especially if you've got someone like my big brother," Andy smiled.
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