Our staff at Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver were first introduced to Manuel (Manu) at our first Big Appreciation Night where we celebrate our current volunteers for their time spent with their Little Brothers/Buddys, and to create an opportunity where “Bigs” can share their experiences with other volunteers. We also ask our existing volunteers to invite a friend who would want to learn more about our agency, and what the process of becoming a Big Brothers mentor is like.
Manu mentioned “I’ve known about Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver for years”, and the opportunity to attend one of our Big Appreciation Nights is what inspired him to learn more. “Although I spent a long time thinking about volunteering, now that I know how accessible and rewarding these volunteer opportunities are, I’d tell anyone who’s considering volunteering to just do it – it’s worth it.”
At the time of writing this, Manu has been matched with his Little Brother, Gabe for about a year and a half. “I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to give back to the community, and this type of opportunity specifically resonated with me; I feel that I can make a massive impact with someone, one-on-one.” Manu also mentions “spending a small amount of time with a child can make such a difference; even if you only commit to a minimum of 1 year with the Big Brother program. You’d be amazed at how much you can change a young person’s life.”
Being involved with one of our programs has also lead to Manu learning the virtue of patience – some of our Littles take time to warm up with their new Big Brothers, and that’s perfectly normal. Manu has been able to build such a strong relationship, even within the 18 months they’ve been matched. Manu is adamant that his “free-time is best spent with Gabe.”
Although we’re often told that our volunteers feel that we give them an understanding of what being a Big Brother is actually like, something Manu mentioned that changed for him, is how often he reflects about his time with Gabe, even when he’s not there. “I was on vacation recently in Vietnam, and that’s when I first noticed how excited I was to bring back a souvenir for Gabe, and how often I think of stories and remember moments of my life that Gabe would find funny which I can share with him when I see him next.”
Manu made it clear for us that anyone who commits to this program can make a massive difference in a year’s time, and if you feel like now is the time for you to learn more, here’s a link to our volunteer opportunities: https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com/get-involved/volunteer/ Alternatively, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d be happy to answer any questions you have.