HOMESTORIESWhen a Little Is More Than Enough

When a Little Is More Than Enough

Mathieu was just over a year old when his father walked out.

He and his mom, Colette, had only been in Canada for six months, and she was left scrambling to find a job and keep a roof over their heads. As an immigrant, she had left behind her entire network of friends and family, and was alone in a new country with a son to raise. 

Colette recalls one winter evening, waiting for Mathieu’s dad on the sidewalk outside her office. Mathieu was bouncing around excitedly beside her, his teddy-bear backpack strapped to his little body. He couldn’t wait for a weekend with his daddy



Sadly for Mathieu, his father never showed up. And eventually, years later, even the odd birthday card stopped coming.

Colette was desperate for Mathieu to have a male role model in his life; to have meaningful relationships that he could count on. A client suggested she try a Big Brother (he had been one himself). They registered as soon as Mathieu was eligible, and were matched with Jeff.



Mathieu was extremely impressed with Jeff; he seemed businesslike, grownup, like a real family guy. He felt excited, but also anxious. Over time, he saw that Jeff was not all that different, that they enjoyed the same things. Understanding that Mathieu finds it stressful to form new social connections, Jeff made him feel safe and at ease. 

In Grade 3, shortly after meeting Jeff, Mathieu went through a particularly rough time socially and it was recommended he switch schools to start over. He chose to work through these issues instead. Advice is something you can’t always take from your mother; and sometimes what you need is the power of belief. Jeff believed in Mathieu’s abilities until he believed in them himself. 

However, Jeff feels he has learned a lot from Mathieu too. When he joined the program, he thought it would be more one-sided, but as Mathieu’s passions and interests evolve (he’s now 16), he’s become quite a specialist, accumulating a wealth of information which they enjoy sharing. 



“The bond that Mathieu and I have established feels like a blend of the relationship I have with my children, my brother and my friends. I want to be a positive role model. I feel comfortable sharing situations in which I may feel silly or embarrassed so that Mathieu can learn from my mistakes, and I enjoy just hanging out with him.”  


As mom Colette shared: “When I see Jeff turn up every second week, of every month, of every year, year after year— it shows me a power that’s bigger than us all. Call it grace, call it love, or call it simply a Big Brother. Jeff tells Mathieu, without saying a word, that he’s more than enough.”


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