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Full Circle Little Brother Kevin

08-Sep-2016

Story from a Former Little Brother Kevin who grew to appreciate the support his Big provided him and it really made a difference as he drew towards becoming a Big himself. Read his full story.

Little Brother Comes Full Circle with Kevin

When I met my Big Brother, Larry, I was a very shy kid.  We seemed to get along quite well, we did many activities together, sports, outdoors, movies, and my mother noticed a big difference in me, as I started to as well.  Larry even received Big Brother of the year for our office after a letter I sent in. Our time with Big Brothers lasted of course until I turned 16, but we provided updates for a few years afterwards to Big Brothers about our relationship.  Today, Larry and I are very good friends, I was in his wedding party when he was married 10 years ago, and he was in mine when I got married 2 years ago.  The point of this story, of course, is that Big Brothers was a very important part of my life as a kid, and I can only give some of that back, not only in appreciation, but knowing how much of a benefit and influence I may have in a child’s life, a child that may be very similar to how I was back then.

Kevin & Domonic image

When I went away to University in Peterborough, I began thinking about the Big Brother’s organization, but in a volunteer sense.  Towards my later years at University, I had the time to do some volunteering, and knew that at the time, I was unable to make the commitment of a Big Brother, and after speaking with the organization, they quickly informed me of something more suitable for my then current situation, being an in-school mentor.  After listening to how the program works, I thought, wow, this is great.  This program is suitable for anyone, even a busy university student with many extra curricular activities, one hour a week was nothing, I surely would be able to do it and enjoy it.  I was soon set-up with a child at a local elementary school, and met with him once a week, taking the Peterborough transit out to the city limits where the school was located, and visiting with my mentee.  After a few months, I was able to get a good idea of how the program worked, what activities were fun to do, especially around different holidays, and more importantly, was able to get feedback from teachers and resource persons about how much better my mentee was doing in school, and even at home.  Not having kids and knowing those associated feelings, I felt many good things about what I was doing, how I was doing it, and felt great when I would walk into my mentee’s classroom and see the big smile on his face when he saw me, and the enthusiasm he had running out of class for our visit, leaving his math test behind.  I again see that smile when I visit Dominic.  I continued with the program into my last year at university and then the year after when I started a job as a cadet with the OPP in Peterborough.  When I got hired as a full time police officer, I was transferred to the small town of Tillsonburg, and being from the Greater Toronto Area, I quickly pulled out my map to find out where this destination was, and with a great sigh of relief, I quickly learned that I did not have to flip the map over to see the other side of Ontario, but in fact it was only a couple hours down the 401 towards London.  Once here and settled, I found that again, Big Brothers had an office nearby, and now I am in my second year of being an In-School Mentor in this area.  Eventually, I would like to be a Big Brother, but I know that what I am doing is just as important and more importantly for me, I enjoy it, and am glad to be an influence in some child’s life. 

            I have a very hectic schedule, it seems at times, and I don’t even have kids.  I work a different schedule from most, get called in for overtime many times as I am the only one without kids and the only one able to do it.  As well, I have a wife at home who likes to see me, she will quickly admit, more than my fellow co-workers do, as well as traveling to Hamilton to visit my in-laws and to Whitby to visit my family.  Taking all this into consideration, I still don’t see a reason why I could not handle an hour a week to be an In-School Mentor, and share that quality time with a child who could really use it.  It’s easy for me to say, having been that kid and experiencing that time from the other end of things, but it’s not hard for someone to quickly learn or understand thru the organization or it’s volunteer’s, the true value of it.  I would encourage many to think about that extra hour in the week when you are watching tv, reading or relaxing, and how perhaps that one hour in a week, might make one of the biggest and best differences in a child’s life.  I can’t say where I would be right now if Big Brothers was not part of my life as a child, but I  do now that it was a big part of where I am today.

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