Growing up as an only-child, Marc Josef, 28, a resident of Richmond, wanted to explore what it’s like to have a sibling. Wanting to make a positive impact in his local community, he decided to volunteer with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver.
For over a year now, Marc and his Little Brother, Justin, have met on a weekly basis to hangout and have fun together. Both are very competitive when it comes to video games, with Lego Marvels causing the latest friendly battles between them. Spending a few hours with Justin each week playing games and sports allows Marc to feel like a kid again, with no worries or reservations. “It is a privilege to impact someone else’s life in a positive way,” Marc shared.
Following in the footsteps of one Big and Little Brother match whose year-end goal was to do one good deed for every fun activity they had planned, Marc and Justin are planning to help others by collecting items to donate to a local food bank throughout this winter season. Inspired by the pledges of good deeds from many of their matches, the charity has launched a superhero campaign to showcase the kindness flowing throughout the organization.
Justin has been a good influence on Marc to stay fit, as they try to make exercise an important part of their friendship. They make time to hike, run or play football in the park each week. While Marc and Justin tend to stay close to home, they have also ventured to the Vancouver Aquarium, gone ice skating and have been sent to a BC Lions game, thanks to Big Brothers ticket donations.
It’s not just the Volunteer who finds the Big Brothers program to be a beneficial experience. A recent study by Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)found boys with a Big Brother mentor are less likely to suffer from peer pressure related anxiety than those without them. Justin was eager to share how much he enjoys his time with his Big Brother each week, when asked about what he likes most about him, Justin said, “Marc’s really funny and good at sports, I enjoy learning a lot from him.”
Marc recommends becoming a Big Brother to all men looking for an engaging and direct way of positively affecting their respective communities. With 85 boys throughout Metro Vancouver waiting for a Big Brother, it may sadly take up to two years before some boys get to have a mentor in their lives. Those interested in becoming a Big Brother or would like to learn more about the program can contact Rose at 604.876.2447 x236 or apply online at bigbrothersvancouver.com.
*For the safety of the children in the Big Brothers program, their names are changed to protect their anonymity.