Oftentimes, one life can make the greatest of differences in many others. Sometimes, that difference is so keenly felt by many, but no one can know how truly powerful that effect is. For Teri Iverson, the Southern Coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, that life belonged to Steven Petersen.
Steven started his path with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah in a pretty unusual place. He walked into a bar where Teri worked as a waitress with a big group of friends. Teri mentioned to them how they could volunteer as Big Brothers at BBBSU. Everyone in the group laughed it off as nothing more than a crazy idea. Everyone except Steven, that is.
He went on to be a Big Brother to several kids. As wonderful as the commitments that he made were, they were not the only reason that Steven made such an impression on Teri. “(Steven) recruited his girlfriend, his roommate, and his friends,” she said. “He recruited about 15 people over the course of the time I’ve known him.”
As important as doing volunteer work is, almost more important is spreading the word and leading others to volunteer as well. Each of the people that Steven influenced went on to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters for their respective matches and changed lives because of it. Each of these people are responsible for a wonderful change in the lives of the kids they helped, but the driving force that led them to their commitments was Steven’s willingness to open up and take a chance to invite someone to share in the volunteer experience.
The work that Steven did inspired Teri in many ways, as she expressed in a poem she wrote on her personal blog. “Because one young man named Steven opened his heart and inspired groups of people, children’s lives were changed for the better, forever,” she wrote. “Because of Steven the world is a little brighter for all of us.” Steven would never admit it, but the work he has done created a great ripple of change in the lives of so many.
Teri has worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah for many years, but it’s clear that Steven has a special place in her heart. Because of him, she knows the extent of the powerful change people like Steven can make. She said, “People [often] think, ‘What is the world coming to?’ But I see college kids doing this kind of work, and I think, ‘We’re in pretty good hands.’” – Alex Harrington
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