John Breen & Mark Norfleet
John Breen has been a Big Brother for 17 years. John was matched with Mark Norfleet when Mark was only nine years old. They were matched in the program in 1988, until Mark graduated from Hall High School in 1997. Mark lived with his mother and two sisters, but his mother also wanted him to have a male influence in his life, especially since his father lived in Houston and his mother attended night school.
When the two were first matched, Mark said he was a little confused about his Big Brother’s role. “It was a growing process,” Mark said, “but John was always there when I needed him. If I just wanted to talk, he was there for me.”
John helped Mark get his first job at Ray Winder Field, working in a hot dog stand; a job Mark still holds. “John allowed me to do things I wouldn’t have had a chance to do with my mom and sisters. Kids try harder when they are noticed,” Mark said. “It can be the little things that can take you down the wrong path, but John was really a positive influence for me to make the right choices.”
After Mark graduated from high school, he attended the University of Central Arkansas in Conway for three years to meet requirements for respiratory school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). In 2000, Mark enrolled at UAMS to obtain a bachelor’s degree in cardiorespiratory therapy. He now has a family of his own and still keeps in contact with John. He and his family support BBBSCA through Bowl for Kids’ Sake each year.