“When I first met my Little Brother Ajani, I have a memory of how inquisitive, energetic and open minded he was—which is still very much who he is today. Ajani has always been interested in martial arts, and I remember him running and jumping around like a super martial artist when I first met him. He also likes to dance. Right from the start of our match, I remember him 'bustin a move' or doing the robot or the moon walk,” says Big Brother Vince.
“I then met Sheldon and Soom at the same time. What I remember is how they both asked to be a team and be matched with me together; this memory is a testament to the friendship they have built today. On top of that, I remember Sheldon enjoying play fighting and jumping on my back; I remember when I first met Soom, I could tell he was a 'thinker' or a 'contemplator' and when asking me questions, they were always quite polite and purposeful.”
When you think of Big Brothers Big Sisters, you think of our one-to-one mentoring program. But our organization offers Toronto’s children and youth other programs to meet their specific needs—like Big Bunch. Big Bunch is a site-based program, where each match spends time together at a meeting site, along with other matches also placed at that location. It creates a small community of matches who spend two hours doing theme-based activities on a bi-weekly basis.
Vince, a Big Brother in the program, has three Little Brothers: Ajani, Sheldon and Soom. “When my Littles and I get together in the Big Bunch program, when playing sports, a friendly competition is always a standard. As my Littles get older, we really enjoy social outings, just hanging out and talking. Getting my three Littles together and hearing their conversations is just so hilarious and reminds me of being a youth myself. Hilarity always ensues when we all hang out over a bite to eat.”
“Having Little Brothers has kept me young, grounded, and—most importantly—I have learned that there is always time to have fun and do fun activities, and committing some time to fun is what keeps one young and healthy,” says Vince. He knows that having Little Brothers has had a lasting impact on him, and that the relationships he has built will be longstanding, influencing his Littles to make positive choices in life. “Knowing this gives me a sense of happiness that I cannot even describe in words.”
“I have a moment with each of my Littles in which I knew I was making a difference in their respective lives. The moments when Ajani and I have talked about issues he may be having at school with peers and he himself was able to answer his own questions on what he should do; when we have these conversations, I know he has built the confidence to be himself and do the right thing.”
“When Soom talked to me about how to budget and plan for the future, I knew that he trusted me enough to steer him in the right direction. When Soom talks about his future plans, I know he is a determined young man who will achieve his goals.”
“Sheldon always likes to have fun, and when he teamed up with me at Laser Tag, I knew he was having fun. Hearing Sheldon say he had fun, tells me that he appreciates the time we spend together.”
“What my Littles may not know is how my relationships with them help me to remember the important things in life—when my busy adult life demands so much of me. It is hard to describe the impact my Littles have had on my life in words, because it is something you feel. I guess I can say it makes me feel like I have three cool Little Brothers, Little Brothers that I never had and always wanted, and I couldn't ask for better Littles.”