Los Angeles

Entrepreneur Gives Back to Program That Helped Him As Boy

Sabin Lomac and cousin started charity Cousins for a Cause to partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters LA

An entrepreneur who faced hardships after a childhood of being raised by a single mother realized he needed to pay it forward after the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization changed the course of his life.

Sabin Lomac, who co-founded Cousins Maine Lobster with his cousin, Jim Tselikis, decided to give back.

After the success of their business, and expanding from one food truck in Los Angeles to 18 across the country and a restaurant in West Hollywood, Lomac and Tselikis have started the charity "Cousins for a Cause" and partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters LA to raise money and awareness.

For Lomac, the cause hits close to home. He faced challenges growing up in Maine before getting a Big Brother from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.

Lomac says he faced hardships while being raised by a single mother, in a house with a lot of love, but not a lot of money. He said he was often alone, and as a result, rebelled.

"I was in the worst trouble of my life," Lomac said. "I'd spent nights in jail, anything ranging from fights or getting kicked out of school, drinking, drugs, graffiti, you name it I was trying it."

That changed when Lomac was 14. The Big Brothers Big Sisters organization paired him with Stephen Lacovara, a young telecommunications specialist in the Coast Guard.

Lacovara was stationed in Lomac's town and looking for someone to mentor.

"That act of selflessness changed my life," Lomac said.

Lacovara called Lomac, asked him questions and went to soccer games - simple things that really added up, Lomac said.

With the help of his Big Brother, Lomac got back on track, earned a college scholarship and graduated with honors.

"He was there throughout the whole time, he was a mentor, adviser, a friend, exactly what a brother is," Lomac said.

Over the past 20 years, the two have remained as close as any biological brothers. Lomac was Lacovara's best man at his wedding and Lacovara named his first child Anthony Sabin.

Now, Lomac is giving back. He is the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters, and he's also a Big Brother himself, mentoring Lawrence Pittman, a 17-year-old who's also being raised by a single mother.

"He tells me to focus on what's best for me, not to hang around people who'll drag me down and focus on what I want to achieve and what I want to do," Pittman said.

Lomac sees Pittman facing the same challenges he did.

"It's crazy to think in Maine as a kid I could be going through what he's going through here in LA, but there's so many people who have the same exact story, the same hardships," Lomac said.

But their shared experiences are not the most important part of their relationship's foundation.

"You don't have to have the same background, demographics, ethnicity, where you're from, it doesn't matter," Lomac said. "What matters is there's specifically a person who needs you, who needs guidance and first of all, you're willing to give it."

If you would like to help, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of LA website.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article stated an incorrect number of food trucks.

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