It’s easy to forget, but teachers (and coaches), like the rest of us, have lives outside the classroom. Some Baylor professors have been known to perform live theatre or direct films in their spare time. Some write or record music. Some compete in triathlons.
For several years, Dr. Byron Johnson, director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion and one of the nation’s leaders on faith-based initiatives, has given his evenings and weekends to serve as a Big Brother to a Waco teenager. Johnson and 16-year-old Blake West (pictured together) often attend Baylor sporting events and concerts, but according to Blake’s mother, Johnson’s biggest impact has been on Blake’s commitment to his future.
“Byron has been a tremendous inspiration,” says Sherry White, Blake’s mom. “Blake wasn’t too excited about going to college, but now he is, and he wants to get the good grades. Byron is always there for him when he needs a little advice. … Blake has cheered up and grown up.”
For his work with Blake, Johnson was recently named Big Brother of the Year for the Lone Star district, which stretches from Dallas-Fort Worth across Central Texas west to San Angelo and south to Houston. In receiving the honor, Johnson is automatically nominated for statewide recognition from Big Brothers Big Sisters; Texas winners are then eligible for national awards from the group.
Sic ’em, Dr. Johnson and Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers!
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* Husband-wife professors spend their summer overseas in research and service (Sept. 2011)
* Piano prof takes music training to the Middle East (Sept. 2010)
* Prof nominated for Meals on Wheels volunteer award (June 2009)