Could you be a father figure?
Nine-year-old Jonathan Virgo faced growing up without a father figure till a caped crusader came along to save the day.
Kevin Stevens, who also moonlights in his Batman suit as a collector for children’s charities, has been the Porirua boy’s mentor for three years as part of the Big Buddy organisation that vets and matches mentors with fatherless boys.
There a 79 matches in the Wellington area but with 10 potential mentors going through screening there are still 26 boys waiting for big buddies so the pair are helping get the word out for more kind-hearted candidates.
The two share an interest in comics and the superhero universe and hang out every weekend - Stevens also calls once a week to check how Jonathan is doing at school, as well as being there to barrack at his rugby and hockey matches and do activities like wood-chopping and go-karting.
Since 1997 more than 700 matches have been created and Wellington area co-ordinator Dave Burcher says men who can spare two to three hours a week to share with a ‘Little Buddy’ should know they don’t have to consider themselves perfect to become a mentor.
Jonathan’s mum, Laura Virgo, has been raising him solo since he was born as his father ‘‘isn’t in the picture’’ and said it was important that men with something positive to offer don’t fear the chance to share it.
‘‘We feel really lucky - we’ve hit the jackpot with Kevin,’’ Laura said.
‘‘Just having a bloke in a boy’s life is good enough.
‘‘It’s a different dynamic and as much as I can provide emotionally and financially, enabling my son to become a decent human being, there are just some perspectives, as a female, that I can’t give him.
‘‘It’s difficult to put in words, but men approach things differently and that’s OK.
‘‘I’m lucky Jonathan is a great kid anyway, but it warms my heart to see how he is identifying how to be a young man because that cornerstone
‘‘There are just some perspectives, as a female, that I can't give him. ’’