Paying it Forward as a Big Brother
Ladner, BC – Stefan Malloch was just three or four-years-old when he was matched with a volunteer grandparent through Big Brothers Big Sisters. It was such a positive experience that now, many years later, they still stay in touch and Stefan visits his ‘volunteer grandma’ at a care home in Vancouver. This busy young REALTOR® decided to pay it forward by becoming a Big Brother. He highly recommends this special mentoring experience.
“My ‘little brother’ is 10-years-old and enjoys the outdoors and sports. We do all sorts of stuff: hikes, movies, fishing, going to the beach. It’s a lot of fun,” says Stefan, who has volunteered with the boy since the child was six.
Matching interests is a key part of the program’s success. Stefan recalls that new volunteers answer a questionnaire about their hobbies, activity level, etc. then the organization comes up with several possible matches. The volunteers and kids meet to see if they like each other and want to hang out.
Children typically join the program because they are looking for extra adult interaction and support. Initially, Stefan volunteered every two weeks, but now that the Grade 6 boy has more school commitments, they get together once a month.
“The most rewarding aspect of this experience is seeing him grow and learn. Just being there to teach him some things or help him through a tough time. It’s nice to see a child evolve and grow especially since I don’t have kids of my own yet,” he says with a chuckle, “it’s good practice.”
For one hundred years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of Canadian youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs. There are one-to-one and group options, taking place both in school and outside of school.
Currently, over 42,000 children are matched with volunteers in their mentoring programs. Thousands more are on waiting lists hoping for a big brother or big sister. To learn more, please visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.
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