Cousins For A Cause was founded in 2014 when Jim and I realized it was essential for us to give back to the community that has been so good to us. What I didn’t know was that this philanthropic endeavor would change my life forever. I have never been more passionate about anything and I am so proud of the work we are doing. Let me start from the beginning where my desire to help others was born.
Because of his decision to volunteer, my life was forever changed.
I was raised in a single parent home in Southern Maine. While there was a great deal of love in our home, money was scarce and I lacked a male role model. I was a smart, athletic kid at risk of going down the wrong path. I had a rebellious side, I would act out and charm my way out of sticky situations. This behavior eventually landed me in jail where I was faced with the decision of choosing which path I really wanted to take. Around this time (age 14) I had been matched with a Big Brother from the Big Brothers Big Sisters foundation in Portland Maine. My mother knew I needed guidance and after waiting two years on a waitlist, I was matched. His name was Stephen Lacovara, he was 22, and after reading an ad in the local Pennysaver, he decided to volunteer. We clicked immediately. For the first time in my life, I had a man in my life that I could confide in, trust, and ask those tough and embarrassing questions. He came to each of my games, which made me feel so good. We talked about girls, school, the trouble I would get in, my goals, my home life, and soon it felt like he was my actual brother, not someone that was matched to me.
Long story short, I was the best man in his wedding, he named his son after me, and today (20+ years later) we are closer than ever. Because of his decision to volunteer, my life was forever changed. While I could never repay him for his love and guidance, I can only pay it forward.
Cousins For A Cause is exclusively partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles and our mission is to gain more exposure, donations, and volunteers for this amazing foundation. Both Jim and I are “Big Brothers” here in LA and we have tons of our friends involved in the program too. We have encouraged the members of our CML family (franchised cities throughout the US) to also get involved and give back. I am now a board member for the LA chapter and in 2016 I was nominated for the National Big Brother of the year.
What do we need: Donations and time. 100% of your donation to Cousins For A Cause will be given to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. Your money will go towards creating more stories like mine; imagine if someone didn’t put that ad in the Pennysaver, how different my life would likely be. Equally important as money, we need mentors. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a “Big”, wherever you live, please email me and and we will connect. Trust me, you have the time. You will feel a level of awareness and happiness you had never felt before, I promise. If not you, who? If not now, when?