By Rudabeh Shahbazi

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – David Greenberger and Seth Cheever are friends with a long history, one that spans more than two decades.

“It’s basically just being there,” said Greenberger, who extended a hand of friendship to Cheever all those years ago. “It’s being there when someone needs to talk. It’s providing a sounding board. It’s the nudges along the road, the little lessons you don’t get in a book, the little lessons you don’t get in class.”

Cheever was only a child when Greenberger became his mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. His mother was raising him and his three siblings on her own and, at just 13 years old, he found himself the man of the house.

Greenberger says the social worker who matched him with Cheever, told him one of Cheever’s goals was to learn to a change a car tire.

“God forbid his mother got a flat, he had to be there to take care of his mom and change the tire,” said Greenberger.

Today, Cheever says Greenberger was instrumental in making him the man that he has become; one with a good education and job, married, with kids of his own. Over these 23 years, Greenberger taught Cheever to fish, study and drive. He also there to send him off to college. Cheever remembers giving his mother a kiss goodbye before he left for Tallahassee to start his freshman year.

“Before she could start crying, he was like, ‘Let’s go, we’re out the door’,” said Cheever. “And I needed that to really pull me away, and also to know that he was putting me there, and that he supported me, and that he believed in me, that I was going to go there and achieve my goals to finish college.”

Greenberger still has the blueprint of Cheever’s dream house, which he designed in high school.

“The main house represents about a third of the property, and the game room represents about two thirds of the property,” said Greenberger with a chuckle.

Cheever would go on to design Greenberger’s office.

Greenberger started a legacy of service that continues to be passed on. He also had another mentee, who now works at his office. He met his wife through his involvement with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Cheever himself, became a mentor. His siblings, who were also matched with mentors through the program, also stay in touch with them as adults.

“We started out with the expectation that we would just be kind to each other and be friends,” said Cheever. “And it’s grown into a brotherhood. I call him my brother, and he really is, because I’ve seen in my life that it’s more than just about who grew up in your household. It’s about the people who are in your lives, and how you treat them.”

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