Harvey Ouchi seems tailor-made for his involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu. He loves sports, particularly softball, golf and volleyball, but confesses that his No. 1 passion is performing magic for all ages and occasions as the lively and ever-entertaining Mr. “O.”
Maybe that’s why the born-and-bred Pearl City boy was a shoo-in for the role of Big Brother of the Year, an honor bestowed upon a Big based on their consistency, dedication and length of service. Jill Matro, program director of BBBSH, says the decision was easier than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. “Harvey is an exceptional individual. The only payback he receives for his volunteerism is the knowledge that he has made a difference, and for Harvey, that is enough. If we had more Harveys in our community, we would be able to see our next generation achieve greater heights than we ever did.”
Ouchi has worked for the state Department of Education for 33 years as a math teacher, counselor, administrator and now in his current role as an educational specialist with the Special Education Section of the Student Support Services Branch. He also is an adviser with the Junior Optimist Club of Hawaii, an offshoot of the nonprofit Optimist International. Even so, the Waipahu grad says he decided to volunteer with BBBSH 12 years ago to leave a little magic behind with the individual.
Ouchi met his current Little four years ago, something he says has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life. To develop stability and trust in their friendship, Ouchi has traditions for his Little to look forward to. The Little’s mother even mentioned in her nomination letter that by doing seemingly inconsequential things - starting their outings with a Spam musubi and bottle of water and ending them with ice cream - Ouchi has helped her son develop a connection he never had with previous Bigs, as well as a greater confidence within himself. His Little seconds that sentiment, saying he now has an idea of what a father should be and how he plans to treat a son of his own one day.
“To me, time is the most valuable commodity in my life ... this time is something I can never get back once it passes, but I know I’ll get it back in many different ways in the future,” Ouchi settles on this thought with a tangible earnestness. “I try to share hope, optimism and caring with my Little, and that’s what I feel life is all about - making a positive difference in lives and contributing positively to society, one life at a time.”
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