I found the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters online after I made a few changes in my life and had some spare time. I knew I wanted to do some charity work, but I had a hard time deciding which organization I should dedicate my time to. I have always enjoye
d working and helping young kids reach their potential, and after my interview with Kristen at Big Brothers Big Sisters Woodstock and District, I knew this was the perfect fit for me.
I was matched with Hunter who was nine at the time. We instantly connected in our initial meeting. We discussed video games and different sports that we both wanted to learn together. Hunter lives with his grandma in Woodstock and has no contact with his mother and very little contact with his father. He is a very smart and excels in school but needed a male role model to help him with different life skills and positive interaction.
The first thing I noticed in our first few visits was how nice and polite Hunter was. His grandma has been doing an awesome job teaching him manners such as saying please and thank-you and holding the door for people. I knew he had a solid foundation for success so I focused our time on learning new positive activities together to keep him on the right track to success. We were fortunate enough to be gifted free golf lessons at Craigowan Golf & Country Club and we spent quite a bit of time learning tennis together. We also enjoy mini golf, bowling and video games. We also frequently set up group events with other big brother big sister matches such as laser quest, flying club, obstacle course and hockey games.
Hunter is now 11 and over the last two years I’ve seen a lot of positive change. He is much more outgoing and thrives in a group setting. He used to be very hesitant to try something new but now he will suggest things for us to do on a weekly basis. What I did not expect with this match was seeing change in myself. Learning to be a mentor has taught me important life skills such as selflessness and patience. Before I met Hunter, I spent most of my life focused on myself, but after being matched with Hunter I constantly think about how he is doing in school and in life and focus more of my time thinking of ways to help him succeed in life.
After a year of working with the BBBS organization, I was given the opportunity to join the board of directors. I was so impressed with my experience that I immediately said yes. I would not want to turn down the opportunity to help steer the organization for the years to come. Being on the board of directors helped me understand the importance of the fundraising side of the organization and just how important it is to keep the funding coming in. Every day we see rising expenses and lower funding so we have to constantly think of ways to fundraise for the organization. On top of that, we focus on how best to use the funds to serve as many children as possible in our community.
If I can sum up my experience with Hunter and the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization in one word, it would be “rewarding”. Hunter, the BBBS organization and myself all have had a rewarding experience and I am excited to see where the match continues to take Hunter and myself. My goal is to see Hunter live a successful life and hope he one day too becomes a mentor to a young boy of the next generation.
My Oma heard about the Big Brother program and I thought that this was going to be something new for me. At first I wasn’t too sure – but thought I might as well try it out to see what it would be like. I started coming to homework club at the BBBS office on Wednesday evenings. I liked the homework club quite a bit because I knew it gave me something to do. Brad has been my Big Brother since January 2015 and I enjoy having him as my big brother a lot. I see him every week – about an average of three hour usually in the afternoon from 6-9pm. At first I was pretty shy, but we ended getting along really well. I’ve had a lot of special opportunities – once we got to speak in front of 500 people at Big Night Out Charity Ball. We talked about our relationship as big and little brother and what it meant to me. We do a lot of fun activities too. Sometimes we hang out at his house or take his dog for a walk. But we also try new things too, like going to the Big Scoops ice cream shop, it was really awesome. I like playing golf and tennis with Brad. Most of the time I win, I’m pretty undefeated actually. Brad is an above decent totally awesome guy and he means a lot to me.