OAKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid Maine helps change the lives of more than 700 kids each year by providing meaningful one on one relationships. Those relationships make it even more difficult when tragedy hits like it did this summer in their Oakland program.
When making a match, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine wants to make sure they get it right. They did that when they introduced Emily Larsen to her 'little brother' Parker Stevens during the Shine On Cass program that happens once a week at Williams Elementary School. The two enjoyed doing arts and crafts together during their weekly meetings.
"Personalities matched up together and I think that from the beginning it was just kind of like an opportunity match," said Larsen.
Summer break is almost over and kids are getting ready to head back to school and the Shine On Cass Program. Sadly, Stevens will not be one of them. The eight year old was killed in July by a gunshot wound to the head while handling his fathers gun that he found in his parent's bedroom.
"My mom woke me up that morning," said Larsen. "My mom and my sister found out the night before. They waited until I woke up the next day because I wouldn't have slept at all."
Larsen plans on remembering his smile and signature drawings. Glasses on stick figures and sunshine in the sky. She's stopped asking herself the question of why a tragedy would happen to such a fun loving 4th grader. She believes that's what her 'little brother' would want her to do.
"Most important thing now is to keep his memory alive and keep living the way that he would want us to be living and keep living with his very outgoing and optimistic. Just always remembering that in my life is really important," said Larsen.
Larsen spoke at Parker's funeral sharing memories and stories from their time together in the Big Brothers BIg Sisters Program. She's decided not to be matched with another little this year, since this is her senior year and it's recommended that matches have at least two years together.