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Wednesday, May 15, 2024   |   7:30AM – 8:30AM   |   Holiday Inn Midland

My name is Will Luzar.  I am a college graduate and have my master’s degree. I have been teaching for 23 years.  I have come a long way…

Living in Fort Wayne with my 2 older sisters and baby brother, I was 5 years old and my mom was on her third marriage. I had no direction and was getting in trouble and running the streets with some shifty characters who encouraged me to vandalize our apartment complex, resulting in my family’s eviction.  So, with no other place to go, we moved to Phoenix. I got in trouble there too, mainly fighting because I couldn’t speak Spanish.  My mom and stepdad couldn’t find work and ended up getting divorced.  By this time I was 8, and we were off to another city, Chicago. We lived in the free housing provided by Salvation Army for a couple months.  Of course, I got in trouble again.  We lived in a Puerto Rican neighborhood;  being white and not speaking Spanish, was not  good, so I had to defend myself a lot. I took the city bus by myself to all parts of Chicago, skipping school and bothering my mom at work. When our apartment got robbed, my mom decided to move us back to Fort Wayne, where a church family took us in. So, I had lived in 3 cities in 3 years and had been in and out of schools which made my grades and work ethic suffer.  All the while, my mom had been dating a variety of guys which confused me.  I had no positive male role model.

By age 10, my mom didn’t know what to do with me, so she got in touch with Big Brothers.  I was 1 of 5 boys picked to meet Mike.  Mike was big, strong, had a beard, and captained his own sail boat.  He took me and 4 other boys to a few hockey games and events.  He told us he was only allowed to pick 1 of us, so he wanted to get to know all of us before he made his decision.  I never, ever figured he would pick me. What did I have to offer him?  I was poor and a trouble maker.  Then I noticed the group was down to just 2 of us. The next time it was just me.  He explained to me that his wife Karen and he could not have kids, and I was what they were looking for.  Me?  Really? It was very hard for me to believe.  They were rich, had a beautiful home, a sail boat, and a riding lawn mower!  I couldn’t believe it! Why me? Well, looking back, it was a gift from God.  I had nothing to offer them; they just wanted to help me become a better person and grow into a quality young man.

Mike and Karen taught me many things, among them, HOW TO:

• properly hold a fork and spoon; yes, I didn’t have any table manners.
• be respectful to adults.
• finish a job when you start it
• keep commitments
• scuba dive, sail and swim
• be a father to my own kids
• be a role model to my students

They were and still are great people and I can only say thank you because they helped save my life.  They gave me the direction I needed at the right time.  If Mike and Karen hadn’t come into my life, I don’t know what would have happened to me! Thank you Big Brothers and Big Sisters!!  My life is different today because of your organization!

Will Luzar

Check back for Building Bright Futures Saginaw this fall!

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