Ten years ago, Kenny Hendrickson ’89 matched with his Little Brother, Spencer, though the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Through the years, Hendrickson has been a caring, positive friend in his Spencer’s life, helping him navigate life’s challenges.
Hendrickson’s outstanding efforts as both a mentor and advocate has led him to earning the 2018 Big Brother of the Year from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota.
“I am truly humbled and honored to be chosen for the Big Brother award for Central Minnesota. Spencer and I truly call ourselves brothers and always tell each other how much we love and respect one another,” Hendrickson said.
When Spencer’s mother died unexpectedly in 2012, Hendrickson was by his side throughout the entire process.
The two spend their time together attending St. Cloud State events, fishing, swimming, going to the movies, bowling, playing tennis and spending time with Hendrickson’s extended family.
“He and I still keep our weekly commitment of getting together,” Hendrickson said. “It was almost as if we were meant to be together through this whole ordeal. He is part of my family now.”
Spencer is a senior in high school and Hendrickson has been integral in helping him navigate his post-high school options. When Spencer expressed interest in becoming a police officer, Hendrickson introduced him to a few of his friends that work in the profession. Spencer is now enrolled in a community college and plans to study law enforcement in the fall.
Hendrickson, along with other local awardees, will represent Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota in a statewide competition held later this year.
There is a great need for mentors in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program with currently more than 100 kids on Big Brothers Big Sisters’ waiting list. Some kids wait more than a year to be matched.
“While Spencer may credit me for helping to change his life, mine has changed as well. I truly love and respect him as if he was my own. He is part of the Hendrickson family,” Hendrickson said.