Bringing Hope

With warranted trepidations, David Brown became a single parent to 5 young girls in October of 2007. In the almost 10 years since that time life for David has become an odyssey of love, hope, and perseverance.

Perseverance must be stressed…

2008 began with David receiving three struts placed into his heart. Unfortunately David returned to work too early and suffered a debilitating stroke in April of 2009.

“I lost most of my memory”

David said.

The next 3 years presented some of the most challenging obstacles and moments of David’s life.

  • 2 months spent learning how to dial a phone
  • 6 months learning how to call each of his 5 daughters by name
  • 8 months of speech therapy
  • 3 years to learn how to add 8+9 together,
  • And lastly, 3 years to write and correctly spell each of his daughters names.

Though incredibly challenging, David was supported by a great deal of faith, love, and support from his family, his love for them never gone from his heart.

Love was the glue that held the family together, over the course of David’s recovery the family was forced to make many sacrifices.

“I didn’t have the resources to enroll my five children in activities and I had withdrawn from activities outside our home because I was embarrassed about my disability”

mentioned David.

The situation came to a head when David’s oldest daughter Alana didn’t have anyone to take her to a basket weaving class. As a result, the next day David picked up the phone and proceeded to make a call that would change the life of him and his family forever.

David remembers the initial apprehension he had when he first met with his intake worker at Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).

“Opening yourself up to sharing was difficult at first. Would it be a good fit for me, and most importantly, each of my daughters?”

he had thought to himself at the time.

Being able to trust someone else with the most important people in his life was difficult, but any reservations he had were quickly mitigated by the initial positive experience while visiting BBBS. Apprehension and nervousness subsided when he saw not only how open and friendly the staff was but more importantly understood how much everyone at BBBS wanted to help him and his family.

In October of 2013, David’s oldest Daughter was matched to her Big Sister Avery. Their first meeting was the start of something powerful for the family.

Thanks to BBBS pre-match training, Alana and Avery’s relationship blossomed quickly, and before David knew, the two were enjoying many activities together. Shortly after David’s second oldest daughter Alesha was matched to her Big Sister Jena. Their match was followed by David’s third daughter Ally with Katt and then finally youngest Alrheanna and Aleida both matched to Big Sister Pichaya this past Christmas.

David remarked how each of his daughter’s Big Sisters personalities matched well with those of the Big Sisters.

“Alana and Avery go to political meetings with the NDP, whereas Ally and Katt will go bowling or play sports.”

The activity list the girls have done with each of their Bigs is considerable. In combination with the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program the girls have got to do bowling, camping, hiking, Go-Karts, bake cookies, do mini-golfing, walked dogs, etc.

“Through BBBS we’ve accomplished twice as much as we could. [For example] The girls were all able to take swimming lessons and through that learn the value of hard work and dedication”

proclaimed David.

In the almost three years since joining the program David has seen each of the girls grow into more loving and caring young women; many adopting the same habits and interests as their Big Sisters.

“It’s almost like they [the 5 girls] have become clones of their Big Sisters”

said David.

David remembers how Alesha was before she was matched with her first Big Sister Jena.

“She was usually kind of shy and timid, less confident overall…she often would struggle with math”

Since being matched with Jena, and now Breanna, Alesha’s confidence has gone up considerably to the point where she was awarded the Grade 7 School Award for The Most Improved Student in Grade 7!

Similar experiences can be said of the other daughter’s personal growth and development. Unexpectedly, David has found BBBS to have had an incredibly profound effect on him.

“I credit BBBS for much of my improvement”

mentioned David.

Beyond helping mitigate some of the financial needs and barriers the family has faced, BBBS has given David hope going into the future.

“The Big Sisters relationship has been nothing short of phenomenal!”

For David, seeing how each of the Big Sisters has grown to become part of his family is one of the most fulfilling results of the program. David recalls how Pichaya came for Christmas last year to help decorate the Christmas tree despite being matched for only a short time with Alrheanna and Aleida.

Despite each of the Big Sisters living in a different city (i.e. Saskatoon, Battlefords) than the family (currently living in Dalmeny) David never hesitates in driving each of the girls to go see their Big Sisters, it’s simply an opportunity to see his now extended family.

Speaking with David, you could not help but notice the passion, emotion, and gratitude he has for BBBS and everything it has done for his family.

“When I first came and spoke to BBBS you promised a lot”

said David. After 3 years David now enthusiastically mentions how BBBS “Over delivered” on its promises. With BBBS by his side David knows that he and his family are “heading in the right direction.”

“I am a firm believer that active kids become responsible adults. Thank you very much for your support; you’ve proven that it takes a community to raise a child.”

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