Barry grew up in the Netherlands and only moved to Canada eight years ago. “My mom and dad were happily married and I got along well with my siblings, but at school I felt insecure,” he explains. “I was teased a lot.”
That experience has motivated Barry’s dedication to the Big Brothers’ program. For the past two years, Barry has volunteered as a mentor to his Little Brother Ahmad*. When asked what types of activities he and Ahmad*, who is turning 13, like to do, Barry’s response is “What do we NOT do?”
“Swimming, watching TV, baking pizza, snow tubing, hiking, we play video games, bowling…. Ahmad* plays hockey so sometimes I’ll go watch one of his games. We’ve also been to hockey games and barbecues together.” The list is endlessly fun.
Even after two years, there is still a spark of excitement when Barry talks about being a Big Brother: “There are different volunteer opportunities at Big Brothers but from day one, I knew I wanted the [classic mentoring] program. I definitely wanted to be a Big Brother!”
“I totally wish I could have had a Big Brother when I was young. It would have really helped. So now I want to help someone to not have to go through that, or stop a kid from teasing other kids.”
Barry’s decision to become a Big Brother has proven to be the right one for both him and his Little Brother. “I feel that I’m building a special relationship with Ahmad*, and that it could last for a really long time.”
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is a proud supporter and grateful grant recipient of the anti-bullying initiative Pink Shirt Day. We strive to prevent bullying by providing children with a positive role model and by creating an environment where children are not bullied and do not feel the need to bully.
*For the safety and privacy of children whom we serve, names have been changed for anonymity.