COOPER CITY, Fla. – For over 100 years, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America has focused on bringing caring role models into the lives of children and adolescents.
A Cooper City man, who only recently became a part of the Broward County chapter, is now being honored statewide for his dedication to a special needs teenager
It all started three years ago when Randy Haas felt a void in his life after his two children left the nest.
“I needed to be a mentor and all I had in the house was a cat, how much mentoring can you do for a cat?”
When Haas did an online search for the word “mentoring” the first thing that came up was Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Broward County.
Soon Haas was opening his home and his heart to 15-year-old Roby Garcia.
Garcia had been on the list for a Big Brother since he was 10 years old but his challenges with autism meant he needed someone special to help bring him out of his shell.
“It’s been so fulfilling especially watching the progress that Roby makes on a daily basis on a monthly basis on an annual basis and how far he’s come,” Haas said.
“In honesty, in my heart, I do feel that Randy is a big family in my heart,” Garcia added.
Now that Garcia has turned 18, he’s officially out of the program, but both agree it’s not the end of their relationship.
“We’re staying in each other’s lives and I have no plans of leaving his and I don’t think he has any plans of leaving mine,” Haas said.