The following story is credit of Molly Harding, Advertising features writer with the St. Catharines Standard.
At 10 years old, Lucas is a bright and friendly young lad, eager to talk and with a ready smile that’s contagious. Yet this is not how he’s been for the last three years, he says.
“I’ve been sad and not comfortable, and I haven’t done well in school.”
His words were echoes by his mom, Miranda, who became a single mom three years ago and said she has been really worried about Lucas ever since. It has been tough on her son, without male companionship, she says. He’s been unhappy so much, hasn’t wanted to interact with his buddies and has lost interest in school.
“He has needed someone to talk to, someone to take him places” – “and do guy stuff” her son added. What changed?
Matt Dagenais came into their lives. Six months ago, Matt became a Big Brothers with Lucas as his Little Brother. And it has made a significant difference in the lives of both Lucas and his mom.
Miranda has no idea how to help her young son, until she heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters St. Catharines, Thorold & District from a friend, who suggested she look into it.
“It was so easy,” she says. “We went to Big Brothers and talked to them, then had an assessment done. It took a month before they found a Big Brother. Then Matt became Lucas’ Big Brother, and he has been a different boy. Matt is fun, he takes him out every week, and they do things together. And since they have had this relationship, Lucas is doing much better at school.
Lucas tells it this way:
“I can do guy stuff with Matt. I call him Dude or Bro, and he takes me places on Saturdays. We’ve been to Happy Rolf’s and Clifton Hill. We went to Ripley’s Museum and to the moving theatre. And today we;re going to the Pumpkin Patch.”
“Matt and I play tennis – look, there’s my raquet over there. I like to skateboard – I’m just learning, though – and I do cross-country and play soccer. And I have a basketball net, I also collect rocks. It’s nice to be able to do things with my bro. And I can talk to him about anything.”
About girls and stuff?
“Yeah, maybe,” he grins.
Matt tells it this way:
“I’m in my second year at Brock and that’s where I heard about Big Brothers Big Sisters, Brock is very much involved. I dream of being a pediatrician. I love kids and this is my first time as a Big Brother. I thought it would be good to hang out with a Little Brother – I really wanted to make an impact and to be a role model.”
“I feel I’ve taken a leadership role here, but I don’t make all the decisions. We decide together where we will go and what we’ll do. Lucas looks out for me, and I do for him. Our relationship has grown a lot since April and we have a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to our days together.”
Matt and Lucas get together for a few hours once a week and it’s even made a difference in Lucas’ relationship with his mom, he says. They watch movies together and he is much more relaxed and happier in his everyday life.
“I just wish I had known about Big Brothers a lot sooner,” says Miranda. “Lucas would not have been so unhappy for so long.”