My son is a great kid! He is friendly and outgoing and loves to be silly and laugh. Like most 12-year-old boys, there isn’t a burp or fart on the planet that isn’t cause for absolute hilarity, and in all the time I have known him, he has yet to be photographed without making some sort of crazy face.
For the many years we were a family of two. A few years ago, we moved in with another single parent with two boys and our little “family” grew to five. It’s a pretty sweet set up. Being a single parent isn’t easy. Having an emergency backstop living in the same house alleviates some of the stress and worry about who is going to feed the kids on those days when you have to work late. Plus, my son, an only child who had been asking me (and Santa) for a sibling since he was 5, finally got a taste of what having brothers was like!
Recently, our life has taken an interesting and unexpected turn — I had a baby. She is the sweetest little thing, with the cutest, toothless, drooly smile, and her brother absolutely adores her. He isn’t resentful of how much of my time she takes or how, as a result, there is a lot less of my time for him, but I worry about it. All kids need caring adults in their lives to guide them, take an interest, and make them feel like they matter. I started to become increasingly concerned about my ability to meet those needs for my boy, when I had an epiphany; Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Juneau!
I scheduled an appointment with match specialist, Toren Ulrikson, right away. She was extremely kind and helpful. My son and I spoke with her separately about what we would like in a “Big” and what type of person we thought might make a good match for him. The whole experience was incredibly easy and positive, until Toren shared with us some very sad news. There were already more than 50 boys on the list waiting for a “Big” – 50 boys, just like mine, in need of another caring adult to take an interest in their lives. 50 boys whose parents are trying to do right by them, who know it is in these tumultuous adolescent years that a great kid with all the promise in the world can get off track and become an Empire headline when he gets older.
So, here is my plea: if you like snowboarding in the winter, if you can stand out in the rain for hours on end and not notice the weather because the fish are biting, if you like to play chess and cards while enjoying fart jokes and burping your ABCs, please consider being a “Big Brother” — my son is waiting for you.
And, if you would rather play video games, or go for hikes, or stage mock pirate battles, or read books, or paint, or carve, or hunt, or go to movies, or throw around a football, or watch a basketball game, or work on cars, or cook up a storm, call 586-3350 and speak to a match specialist. Whatever activity that you like to do, there is a kid in town who enjoys it as well. Get involved in the life of a young boy now and forever you will be remembered as that totally awesome dude that made all of the difference in his life.
• Lisa Flores is a single mom, long-time Juneau resident and proud mother of Dominic and Viviana Flores.