RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
Time now for StoryCorps. This project is traveling the country recording interviews between everyday people. Today, a conversation between Ky-Antre Compton and Stewart Chittenden. Ky-Antre is 11 years old; Stewart is 38. They met through a local Big Brothers, Big Sisters mentoring program, and sat down in Omaha, Nebraska to reflect on how that program has forged their friendship.
Mr. STEWART CHITTENDEN: So how long have we known each other now?
Mr. KY-ANTRE COMPTON: Probably a year.
Mr. CHITTENDEN: Does it feel that long?
Mr. COMPTON: Yes.
Mr. CHITTENDEN: Yeah.
Mr. COMPTON: More like 19 years.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. COMPTON: When I first met you, I thought this was going to be so boring, that this was going to ruin my whole summer, my whole life.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. COMPTON: But then you taught me respect. You taught me how to be mature. You taught me how to be a young man. You know, I ask you all the time, why are you so polite? Why are so respectful?
Mr. CHITTENDEN: Mm-hmm.
Mr. COMPTON: I understand that you're just trying to be a good mentor to me, and I love that. And those times when you messed up, like you taught me that it's okay to make mistakes, it's okay to get mad. But it's just not okay to get out of control.
So, Stewart, what are the things you believe in? Like, if you believe in God, are you scared that he won't pick you to go to Heaven or anything?
Mr. CHITTENDEN: Well, I don't believe in God. So I don't have a faith like you have a faith. But I do worry about living my life now to be the best that I can be. Does it bother you that I don't have a faith in God?
Mr. COMPTON: Sometimes it makes me shocked, but no, that's your belief. I can tell you one thing, you're the best role model I ever had.
Mr. CHITTENDEN: I think we're teaching each other stuff.
Mr. COMPTON: Which makes us more closer.
Mr. CHITTENDEN: Mm-hmm. I want you to know that this isn't a one-way relationship. I'm learning how to be fun and engaging and open, and so I want to thank you for that, Ky-Antre.
Mr. COMPTON: You're welcome.
Mr. CHITTENDEN: Do you think we're going to be friends for a long time?
Mr. COMPTON: You know, you really want to know what I think?
Mr. CHITTENDEN: I do.
Mr. COMPTON: I think we're going to be big brothers for a long time.
(Soundbite of music)
MONTAGNE: Ky-Antre Compton with his mentor Stewart Chittenden in Omaha, Nebraska. Their StoryCorps interview will be archived, along with all the others, at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Subscribe to the project's podcast at npr.org.
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