The researcher is asking for advice! - Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring

Prevention Corner: The researcher is asking for advice!

In addition to my role as a mentoring researcher, I’m also Big Brother to Kayden. He’s 10 years old and in the 5th grade. I’ve been mentoring Kayden for about 10 months. Kayden is actually my 2nd Little; my first Little moved to another city and so we ended our match after only 5 months.
I’m learning a lot from these experiences, and there are times when I’m unsure of what to do. Right now there are 2 such issues.
The first has to do with Christmas. My family wanted to move beyond sharing gifts among ourselves and was looking for a family that we could perhaps assist during this holiday season. I suggested Kayden’s family. He’s one of 5 children and given that there are 5 of us (me, my wife, and our 3 kids), I suggested we each get a gift for one of the 5 children in Kayden’s family. I asked his mom for permission to do this and for some information on clothing sizes, just in case. Fortunately, his mom was agreeable (and grateful) for our willingness to do this.

But now I’m wondering if Kayden and I should use one of our upcoming visits to get a small Christmas gift for his mom. Your thoughts?

The second issue is that my first Little (Andrew) has moved back into town and was hoping to resume our match. I wondered whether it made sense to mentor both boys together, but was told by the local BBBS support person that it wasn’t a good idea. I’m okay with that decision but I did agree to visit with Andrew until he was matched with another Big. I really like Andrew and he seemed to truly value our relationship. In fact, when he moved away (and asked if I would be rematched), he said, “Remember, no matter what, I will always be your Little Brother”).

So my 2nd question is this: Is it a good idea to visit with Andrew informally while he waits to be matched?