Nick Hassinger runs his own company called Nicks Cab. At the end of the day, he leaves the pressures of his job to hang out with two teenagers. He is whats called a "big" as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Cedar Rapids. He and his "little" Brandon, have been hanging out for 2 years now.
Nick said "I didn't realize this at first, how much he would help me in return by bringing my inner child out. Just him laughing, having a good time, leaving work and everything else aside. It's just been a pleasure."
Brandon's little brother has even started tagging along for the fun. Nick says he is like another "little" for him.
Nick said he joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters program because he wished he had someone that invested in him when he was younger. Now he has a chance to be that for someone else.
Brandon's mom Chloe said her boys can not wait to spend time with Nick. She is so thankful for their relationship.
Chloe said "it gives them a different person they can go to with those real life issues and that I know everything is gonna be OK on the other end of that conversation."
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids only requires a "big" to spend 4 hours a month with their "little." Chloe says Nick has gone above and beyond that. They hang out almost every weekend going to places like Sky Zone, paint ball or something simple like just hanging out at home playing video games.
But Nick does not just do cool kids stuff. He invests in character building and education.
Nick said "I'll help him find a book he'd like to read and I'll buy it for him and I'll ask him questions about it throughout. Just seeing the smile on his face telling me about a book that he enjoys. It's amazing.
One of the first activities they did together was the Cedar Rapids "One Bag Challenge." The pair each got a bag and picked up trash around Ellis Harbor. The Two also worked together in the Newbo district helping sandbag storefronts during flood preparation.
Nick is also helping them build a healthy lifestyle. He is part of the Down to Fight MMA gym in Cedar Rapids. He has gotten Brandon involved in the Jiu Jitsu program.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids is in great need of mentors. Nick says right now there are 100 boys on a waiting list to be paired up with a mentor. That means there is a great need for men to step up.
If you are interested in being part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids visit their website: www.beabigcr.org