“I don’t know where I’d be without him,” Little Brother Mandrell Horton said about Big Brother Josh Randolph. “I can ask him anything. He’s like my real brother.”
In 2014, Josh and Mandrell were matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham. Since then, the two of them have bonded in numerous ways. Since Mandrell began playing basketball, Josh has attended all of his games and even worked out with him at the YMCA; Josh has also passed on his love of fishing to Mandrell and taken him on several trips, including a fly-fishing lesson. Additionally, Josh has always taken an interest in Mandrell’s schoolwork and has helped him with his academics over the years. Mandrell was even included in Josh’s wedding and has become an “uncle” to Josh and his wife’s child.
Josh has also instilled a sense of philanthropy in Mandrell. Josh, a dedicated board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham, has also served for many years as a pet-assisted therapist for Hand in Paw along with his dog, Gus. With Josh’s support, Mandrell applied to become a volunteer assistant. Together, Josh, Mandrell and Gus have visited local hospitals, schools and organizations to provide pet-assisted therapy. “It is an honor to be Mandrell’s Big Brother,” Josh wrote in his letter of support on Mandrell’s behalf to Hand in Paw. “It is amazing to build a relationship with such an outstanding young man.”
Josh and Mandrell’s dedication to the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission has rubbed off on others around them. Both of Mandrell’s siblings, Mantrell and Ja’Asia, have since matched with Bigs and performed in the organization’s annual gala, A Night of Big Stars. Mandrell and his mother, Rotesha, have even spoken at a United Way meeting about the impact the program has had on their lives.
Josh and Mandrell’s relationship has been instrumental in shaping Mandrell into the man he is today. From sparking his interest in volunteerism to helping him flourish in school, their match has undoubtedly been and will continue to be an incredibly positive influence in Mandrell’s life. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham is pleased to announce that Josh and Mandrell have been awarded Big and Little Brother of the Year for the entire state of Alabama. To learn more about the Big and Little program and how you can positively impact a child’s life, visit www.bbbsbhm.org or call 205-939-5590. †