With more and more meetings, Mark Nymeyer and his friend Matt Shippy continue to strengthen a bond.
"Every time gets better and better because we are getting closer and closer," Nymeyer said.
The friendship between the Marshalltown residents started more than two years ago when Nymeyer, 26, became Shippy's Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Matt Shippy, left, and Mark Nymeyer play video games Thursday at Nymeyer’s Marshalltown home. Nymeyer is Shippy’s Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
"I thought it was a great way to give back to my community," Nymeyer said. "It makes you feel proud of yourself and feels like you are giving back."
The pair enjoy going to the movies, playing video games, cooking, attending sporting events and a wide range of activities together.
"I get to do stuff that I usually don't get to do," Shippy said. "It's kind of nice because I never had a real big brother."
Shippy, 13, comes from a single parent home and has several step brothers, so the one-on-one attention he gets from Nymeyer is appreciated. Shippy is a seventh grader at East Marshall Middle School.
Nymeyer works at Fisher Controls and is busy planning his wedding but finds time twice a month to spend with Shippy.
January is National Mentoring Month and Nymeyer said people of all ages can become a Big Brother.
"I really think it's great for somebody of any age," Nymeyer said.
He also said mentoring can be a way to prevent bullying, which has been a major push in the community.
"The biggest way to combat that is to provide a positive influence in our community any way we can," Nymeyer said.
Shippy said his favorite outing with his Big Brother was a trip to see the "Avengers" movie, while Nymeyer liked taking Shippy to his parents' farm.
Both feel this is a friendship that will last, and Nymeyer hopes to learn about Shippy's success in the future.
"I have goals for him that I think about," Nymeyer said. "One, is to get accepted into college."
To learn more about becoming a mentor in Big Brothers Big Sisters call the local office in Marshalltown at 641-753-6370.
Lynne Carroll, director of the local BBBS office, encourages area adults to look into becoming mentors.