Dina and Cassidy are an example of a “Match meant to be”. Their friendship started through Big Brothers Big Sisters, but not in the typical fashion. Dina first met Cassidy during a camp she had put together with her partner and husband, Rob, that allowed children still waiting to be matched with a Big the opportunity to get involved with theatre.
“We met during the second week of theatre classes the first year we put the camp together in 2010. The first class I had I turned to Rob and said I wish I could be a big sister but I don’t have time. After the first class with Cassidy I turned to Rob and said, “I have to be her Big Sister.” I signed up and became her Big Sister during the camp. I did the training as soon as I could. We were matched quickly.” said Dina.
“We were matched with the agency for about 4-5 years and then we decided to continue being family after. Cassidy is family to us and we see her frequently throughout the year.” continued Dina.
With Dina and Cassidy everything just “clicked” from the very beginning.
“Our connection is very organic. We gelled from the beginning. We can be honest with each other. We can go through spats like real family but unlike family we really listen to each other and learn from what has happened. We grow from each other. Everything makes it special. We are very lucky to still have each other. This was fate for us to meet. This is waiting for others out there too. I hope others give this opportunity a try in our community. It’s very good for the soul for everyone.” said Dina.
As it turns out that theatre camp may have rubbed off on Cassidy, who frequently assists with Dina and Rob’s theatre production company, Something Something Productions. Cassidy has also begun studying acting at Brock University.
“Cassidy has a lot of confidence now and stands for herself. Cassidy is learning by my mistakes when I was her age so it’s incredible to see her challenge herself and succeed. Cassidy has also gained confidence to go on stage and perform as an actor at Brock University as well.” said Dina.
Dina is an ardent believer in the power of mentorship for the benefit of the community at large.
“Mentoring Matters because everyone needs someone they can talk to, rely on, and trust because more times than not, your family is not television. It’s real life. There are kids who are scared to talk to their parents, peers, and even members in the community. Mentors can make a big difference in a child’s life. I was able to experience that myself with Cassidy.” said Dina.
“It is important because it’s good for the community. It will help give kids more confidence but it also helps the volunteer. If the volunteer is serious and invests in the children, it will change their life. It really will change their life. It sounds cliche but me and Cassidy are living proof. It proves that this program is important world wide. It starts in our community. It starts right here.” continued Dina.
And what did Dina get out of her experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters?
“I was hoping to help a kid feel good and better about themselves. Give them the advice I never received or took from my Mom. I was able to get a real sister out of this experience.”