Anthony first got involved with Family Services of NW PA through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. His mother was seeking a male role model for him since Anthony's father was not a part of his life.
When asked to define his favorite thing about Big Brothers Big Sisters, Anthony had a quick answer - his big brother, Erik. "We've been matched for about 9 years, starting when I was 9 years old," says Anthony. "We do a lot of things. We go on trips out to the lake and go down by the water, and we have a great time. We play cards all the time and hang out, and sometimes we just talk."A few years ago, Anthony started feeling depressed and having suicidal thoughts. Erik immediately referred him to the Outpatient Therapy program at Family Services of NW PA. "My counselor is great. He takes time to hear about my day, and then he gives me advice if something bad happened," says Anthony. "Sometimes we just sit and I practice my relaxation skills. It's really calming and I just feel really good about it."
Shortly after starting counseling, Anthony found out he was going to be a father. "That really freaked me out at first," said Anthony. "I was really overwhelmed and worried about finishing high school, getting good grades, and being able to support my child." Anthony's counselor taught him techniques to help him remain calm in stressful situations. He also helped Anthony to think about and develop positive plans for his future. "My daughter Victoria is now two months old and I feel like everything is going great again," said Anthony.
"The counseling program also transformed my life. They help keep me relaxed and really help me with my problems," said Anthony. "Without my big brother and Family Services, I don't know where I would be right now. They helped me with so many things. I feel like I am in a great situation because of it."