Making a Difference Through Playing Sports, and Conversation

We sat down with Bhwandip – a devoted Game On! volunteer since 2017. Game On! is our shortest commitment program out of all our volunteer opportunities, amounting to only 6-8 weeks at a local community centre or elementary school, during generally, after-school hours. Each Game On! session is traditionally split into 75 minutes of physical activity, and 15 minutes of snacking and having a meaningful conversation.

For Bhwandip, his parents had quite an impact on his upbringing: specifically teaching him to have the drive to give back and to always take the opportunity to support others. The drive to volunteer in his community was strong. What made Big Brothers appeal to Bhwandip was specifically the opportunity to mentor and help motivate and inspire young men through physical activity and conversation just as he saw the value of the mentorship from his parents.

When Bhwandip was in school at KPU studying Criminology, one of his professors, Navdeep Gill, also had a profound impact on him. He admired her desire to go “above and beyond” for her students; specifically by setting aside time to discuss long-term goals with him and how he wanted to give back. His professor spoke highly about the value of volunteering with our organization, especially with the degree that Bhwandip was pursuing. Having direct experience with members of your local community lends itself well to a future career in law enforcement. Bhwandip also decided that making a lasting impact long-term with young men resonated deeper with him, as opposed to volunteering at a one-off event.

One of the misconceptions that Bhwandip had about volunteering prior to getting involved was that he might not have enough time. He was diligent about expressing his praise for our Mentoring Coordinators who provided him flexibility with his volunteering commitments. Namely, if your volunteering application is successful with Big Brothers, we add you to a pool of volunteers, and we offer you 3-5 locations, every 3-4 months. If you’re not able to volunteer now, that’s not a problem – you’re welcome to volunteer later.

When asked about his personal experience, he mentioned: “a lot of these Little buddies are specifically chosen for this program, and sometimes early on you can tell who’s a bit more shy, but specifically engaging with those kids one on one, they begin to have fun and enjoy themselves more and more. One-on-one time genuinely leads to the youth opening up and sharing themselves and being more engaged in the activities and discussions. All of the children are unique and they all simply just want to have fun.

We asked what advice Bhwandip would provide those who are considering becoming a volunteer with Big Brother, and his response was simple, “If you’re looking to make a positive impact on someone and see the change in real-time – this program and mentoring youth does just that. It’s all about giving back and inspiring someone to be better than when you first met them. A lot of these children are missing the positive male influence and it’s an amazing feeling to be that outlet.

Does Game On! sound like an interesting opportunity to you? Learn more here: https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com/get-involved/volunteer/

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