That’s my brother

B. George Seikaly and Micheal Peggins

Photo by Larry Dalton

B. George Seikaly and Micheal Peggins, a matched set from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, made a touching picture as they walked away after our interview. The campus of Natomas Charter School was almost empty. The pair walked side by side down a concrete island, the successful good-looking lawyer in his late-20s with his nice suit and overcoat, the 12-year-old boy with the big backpack and the sandy hair, looking up at him. It was like a scene from some sappy sentimental film about the meaningful bond between father and son, but in actuality, George and Micheal don’t spend a lot of time dealing with emotional Hollywood situations. Mainly, they just like to hang out, being kids together.

What are some of the funnest things you guys do together?

Micheal: We went to the California State Fair. That was fun. Except the rides were expensive, so we didn’t get to go on a lot. … The first movie we saw, Legally Blonde, that movie was funny.

George: We also got to see a court argument. We went over to the State Court of Appeals. Micheal has once expressed an interest in the idea of being a lawyer, like I am, and so we saw some good lawyering, some bad lawyering … I told Micheal to kind of keep an eye on what the judges were asking.

Now, do you still want to be a lawyer?

Micheal: Yeah.

Is there anything else you want to be?

Micheal: Maybe a drummer for a band.

George, can you tell me why you got into the program?

George: Yeah, there were several reasons. I guess one of the things I remember as a kid … my parents split up at a fairly early age, and I just remember not having a lot of time to spend with other people and being lonely, wishing I could go out and do more fun things other than being at home and doing chores and doing homework.

Micheal: That’s basically what I’m doing.

And how did you guys get each other? How did you get matched up?

George: From my end, they gave me a questionnaire basically asking what sort of qualities I was looking for in a littler brother. And based upon that, they gave me three finalists, and um, there were two other boys about Micheal’s age, and then there was Micheal.

You met all three of them?

George: No, no. They actually just uh, read me the profiles. … All three boys sounded great, including Micheal, of course. But there was just a way that Micheal expressed himself that reminded me a little bit of myself, and I felt that we would be compatible as a match. I think we have been thus far.

What do you like to talk about?

Micheal: I want to be a lawyer, and so he tells me stuff about being a lawyer and like how to win cases.

What are some of the secrets he’s told you about how to win cases?

Micheal: Like, um, something about the jury. Like if you tell them, like, ‘I don’t understand this case, do you?’ And then they’ll just go like, ‘no,’ and so that will just win the case. It’s something similar to that.

How often do you guys get together with other Big Brothers Big Sisters?

George: The Halloween party. That was a nice event. They had food and entertainment and they had pool tables. They had a very large space rented out. I think that was an example of why people should be involved with the program. There were a lot of kids there who actually were unmatched. They invited matches as well as kids who had not been matched up yet with a mentor. I think that shows there are more kids available. There certainly is a demand for this. We got to meet a couple boys, younger than [Micheal] actually, and we played team pool. Like Micheal and I were on one team and they were on another, I think.

Micheal: And then you were on the one kid’s team that wasn’t very good at it. And you taught him how to play.

Micheal, what’s one thing that you get to do now that you have a Big Brother that you haven’t been able to do before?

Micheal: Like, um, I don’t know. Like, have an adult, a fatherly figure to hang out with and stuff.

[To George] The one great big thing that you haven’t been able to do before …

George: Well, if not before, at least not for a very long time—I get to just be a kid and get to do kid things, and uh, you know, see things from a more laid-back perspective, and not have to worry, how do I look doing this or that. And just get to have fun. Micheal’s fun, and I get to have fun with Micheal and not have to worry about a lot of other things. It’s a real break from the day in and day out, just going to work and coming home and doing something and then going to sleep.

Now, if there was anything that could be changed about the way you guys do this … what would it be?

Micheal: Um … I don’t think I would really want to change anything.

Find out more: If you’re interested in learning more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, call (916) 482-9300.