Tribune staff reports

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Indiana recently recognized the successful completion of one of the agency’s community-based matches in Jackson County.

Big Brother Darren Collett of Seymour was first matched with Garrett Marquez on Sept. 21, 2006. At the time, Garrett was 8.

With nearly 10 years in the agency’s mentoring program, he successfully aged out this year after turning 18 and graduating from Seymour High School in the spring.

Collett said he learned about Big Brothers Big Sisters’ need for volunteers through an agency board member, and he felt compelled to become a “Big” and mentor a “Little.”

“It has been very rewarding watching Garrett develop into a fine young man,” Collett said of the time he spent with Marquez.

Marquez said being matched with Collect helped him as he progressed toward his high school graduation. He’s now enrolled at Indiana State University and plans to be a high school physical education teacher and football coach.

“I have learned so much and am still learning,” he said.

Both Marquez and Collett looked back fondly on their memories of going to various sporting events during their time together.

Marquez described Collett as being helpful and encouraging.

Collect said the two had some tough discussions over the years, but Marquez always remained calm.

Marquez’s mother, Kathy, she said appreciated how Collect mentored her son over the years.

“We have been very blessed to have Darren as a ‘Big,’” she said. “He has been very encouraging for Garrett and a wonderful role model and mentor.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters offers both community- and school-based mentoring programs for children and youth in Jackson County.

When asked about the mentoring experience through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Collett said he could not think of a better way to give of yourself than to volunteer to be a positive role model and mentor a “Little.”

For those considering signing up as mentor, Marquez said the “Big” needs to make sure every moment counts because “Littles” will love and open up.

“Don’t get discouraged,” he said.

The agency’s mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better forever.

At a glance

If you know of a child age 6 to 13 who could benefit from a mentor, an adult who would be interested in volunteering or would just like to receive information about the program or additional opportunities on how to help, call 812-522-9699, email or visit