BIBLE HILL - Koady Ross gets a serious look on his face as he watches his big brother play a card during a game of Uno.
The 10-year-old isn't Alex Hernandez's biological brother, but thanks to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester, the two have been matched for almost two years now.
"We tell a lot of jokes to each other," said Koady. "But we also talk about what's been happening with ourselves, and I tell him about school. He's good at giving advice."
Two years ago, Hernandez, 29, was working in Truro and had a friend who was a Big Sister through the organization.
"I never knew about it when I was little, so when I heard about it, I was at the point where I had wanted to get involved in the community," said Hernandez, who moved to Halifax this summer for work.
"I was nervous about being a big brother. I thought, ‘What if it doesn't work out, or what if he doesn't like me?' And then I got tired of making excuses."
Since Hernandez made that call to the organization, he hasn't looked back.
"They're good at being able to match you with a little brother. They take into consideration what you're like and who you might be compatible with so you both get the best match."
This year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester is celebrating its 35th anniversary, while the national organization celebrates 100 years.
The challenge for the local organization is to find 35 ‘Bigs.' Coincidentally, there 35 little brothers on a waiting list for a match.
"Without Alex, I wouldn't be going to places as much or doing these things. We go play sports, we go to the movies, we've gone fishing and we'll go for ice cream," said Koady, who added Hernandez is someone he can look up to. "And I wouldn't be as confident in myself."
Because Hernandez moved to Halifax, he's happy he was able to continue being a big brother to Koady, even if it means only getting together once a month.
The two talk on the phone about once a week, with Koady often picking up the phone to call his big brother.
"He's calling me when something new and exciting happens, like if he wins a basketball game or something happens at school. Usually it's something a big brother takes the lead on, but Koady often calls," said Hernandez.
Koady said he calls to share the news because he knows how happy it will make Hernandez.
"He always ‘congrats' me and says I'm doing a good job," he said. "I just want to share the experiences."
Growing up with his grandparents, Koady has both a little brother and sister, but it was his grandmother's idea to sign Koady up for the program.
"People should be a big brother," said Koady, who knows there are littles waiting for a match. "It's fun."
Both brothers know they have a bond for life through the program, and can't imagine their lives without each other in it.
"As a big brother, you don't know how much you do affect your little brother. Even if it's just monthly. If someone doesn't have an older male model figure, being a big brother means they have somebody there," said Hernandez.
"It's sad there are so many littles waiting because I know there are 35 guys out there that would be great big brothers."
Anyone wishing to become a big brother and help the organization reach their challenge goal can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester at 895-4562.