Matched through Compeer Rochester’s Youth Program and have been Compeer friends for over three months now. Dakota is already looking up to Damon as a positive role model and developing an amazing relationship.
Having grown up with seven sisters, Dakota needed a male role model to look up to. His parent’s relationship was always on and off and his brothers and sisters kept busy. Dakota wanted to find someone he could rely on, hang out with, and look up to.
Damon heard about Compeer Rochester through his job at Pharos Systems Inc. He had attended a few events sponsored by his company and began feeling attached to Compeer’s mission by watching the videos and hearing speakers talk about mentoring. Damon and his wife both have children from previous relationships that stay every other weekend. On the weekends without them, he missed the fun and excitement of having kids around and was looking to make a difference in someone’s life. He picked up the phone to call when he heard about an incident in downtown Rochester involving two brothers in a fight with someone which resulted in a death. He wanted to help change other outcomes in the future.
Since starting with Compeer Rochester, Dakota and Damon have created an amazing bond. One of Dakota’s favorite sports is football so Damon took him to watch the Buffalo Bills Training Camp. They have also been keeping busy at Red Wings games, the golf range, the trampoline park, the renaissance fair, and much more.
Damon also welcomes Dakota into his family. “I feel really similar to his [Damon] second oldest Son,” Says Dakota.
Damon taught Dakota how to play “Bear,” a game Damon’s family made up and has played for years.
“I like to bring Dakota to as many positive activities as possible,” Damon explains. Communication is important but they have built so much trust in just a few months by being together at events or spending their time active and busy.
Dakota has seen himself come out of his shell; “There’s nothing wrong with being shy, but I am more talkative now.” Dakota’s mother has noticed the difference too; one day Damon called on the phone and she was surprised how much Dakota talked to him, “He barely said a word all day before that.”
Dakota is also proud to be keeping busy and staying off the streets. He loves learning new tricks and activities from Damon and feels as if his speech has improved. He explains that it is important to have someone you can trust and know they will be there if you need them.
Dakota truly looks up to Damon as a male role model and as a friend. “We have gone through the same experiences. Things that I am going through now, he has gone through before.”