June 3, 2019

Each month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin shines a light on the relationships that we are helping build within our community. Please help us congratulate Bill and Nancy Mathias of De Pere and their Little Brother Lucas of Green Bay — our Brown County Match of the Month for June.

Where did you hear about Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Bill & Nancy: We were familiar with the organization from a prior match relationship in the early 90’s. With such a positive first experience, we decided to get involved again and again are having a very positive experience.

Why did you want to become involved?
B&N: Being a Big expands our life experience. We learn, we explore, we laugh.

 What do you do when you spend time together?
Lucas: Go around adventuring and cooking and eating.

What do you do when you spend time together?
B&N: Our time together varies. Sometimes it’s dinner that we might cook together, and perhaps a chess game or throwing the football around. Sometimes we go out and about to visit a park, apple orchard, or a sledding hill. Sometimes we try new foods at the Farmer’s Market, participate in an “escape” room activity at the library, or go on an “adventure.” He enjoys the college (where Nancy works) where he has attempted to scale a climbing wall (while we watch from the ground) on SNC Day, taken swimming lessons (supported by his family and taught by the SNC Swim and Dive team) or eating in the cafeteria. Then there are times we participate in activities sponsored by BBBSNEW like roller skating, fishing lessons, summer picnic and all of the chicken dinner events (Christmas party & annual meeting). Most recently, we have been checking out summer pre-college camps.

 Is there something in particular that stands out as a memorable time with your Big?
L: One time when I went out for a walk with Bill, he taught me how to tie my shoes.

What have you learned from your Big?
L: Proper grammar.

Is there something in particular that stands out as a memorable time with your Little?
B&N: The most memorable is the way in which Lucas has grown over the last two years. He’s both curious and bold in trying new things. He’s grateful, polite, and likes to teach us about new things like Fortnite, cool videos and pre-teen lingo.  He’s developing into a fine young man.

Is there something in the future that you would like to do together, or that you look forward to experiencing together?
B&N: We enjoy the outdoors very much and look forward to exploring this further with Lucas whether that be hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing or hunting.

 Is there something in the future that you would like to do together, or that you look forward to experiencing together?
L: Going to a cabin and adventuring.

What have you enjoyed about being a big?
B&N: We have enjoyed having fun every week and seeing the world through the eyes of a 10, 11, 12 year old –  although it does underscore how far removed from our own youth we are!

In what way has being matched with your Little affected you and your life?
B&N: Being a Big invites me to be a better person. It’s an exercise in giving and receiving while respecting the autonomy of our Little. It broadens my understanding of the similarity and differences of my childhood and his. The relationship calls to question why I do or think the way I do and the values, assumptions and biases I carry for better or worse.

What would you say to others about Big Brothers Big Sisters and to others who are thinking about
becoming a Big?
B&N: Being a Big does ask something of you. It takes time, energy and at times a little money (since we often meet over dinner hour and like to go out to eat!) It will call forth your patience, tolerance, and limits of influence. But it does not require you to be perfect. And that’s the beauty of the relationship. Two imperfect people get together and share their lives for mutual benefit. Everyone has something to offer. And in the process there’s growth in the capacity to love another person.

Make the move to get involved despite any concerns you may have. I suspect you’ll be very glad you did and it might even be your favorite day of the week!