November 4, 2013
By CHRISTINA ROSALES
When Reuben Howard was first matched with his Big Brother, Drew Swedlund, seven years ago, the young boy saved ticket stubs from their trips to museums and trinkets from baseball games. Swedlund snapped lots of pictures.
But the documenting slowly stopped as they reached a point when their time together wasn’t about mentoring or cultural enlightenment. It was a friendship.
Their relationship, on paper, is complete, now that they’ve graduated from the program and are transitioning into new phases of their lives. Overcoming poverty and a volatile home life, the 18-year-old is bound for his freshman year at Harvard University later this month. Swedlund, 33, and his wife just had their first baby last week.
“I had always planned on going with him to college, to see him off or help him move in,” said Swedlund, of Flower Mound, who now doesn’t plan to visit Cambridge until November.
“And then this guy had to go and get his wife pregnant,” the teen joked as they sat at dinner one summer evening.
“But I don’t see this as the end for us,” said Swedlund, a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch.
Big Brothers Big Sisters facilitated their match. But the success story belongs to the two of them. Swedlund has been a constant, accepting friend to Reuben, not just a mentor. The teen accepted his advice willingly, relishing the stable guidance that showed him what he could achieve.
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