Growing up, I lost my mother to a freak snowmobile accident at the age of fourteen; it was this experience that initially drew me to the Big Brothers program.
Because I spent my formative teenage years in a house with only one parent, I knew I had the life experience to help other kids who were in a similar situation. I wanted to help an ‘at risk’ youth, to dive into the under belly of Vancouver and give a young man a chance in this world!
It turned out to be quite the opposite. I was matched up with an ‘upper middle class’ pre-teen who gets great grades, is enrolled in extra curricular tutoring, and is an active member of his church’s youth group. Oh, and he is the only person I’ve ever met that likes baseball as much as I do.
This smart, active boy just needed a bit of guidance from someone other than his mother. He needed someone who could relate to his life as a preteen boy, someone who was willing to grab a glove, ball and a bat and head to the park for hours of catch and batting practice. In the past year, I’ve been able to see amazing growth in him. Sometimes we have heart-to-hearts, and sometimes he just likes teasing me for being a Leafs fan.
When you reach out to a child in need, do it without any preconceptions; go forward with an open mind, an open heart, and let God guide you in the rest. Sometimes, all a child needs is a little guidance, a trusting adult to confide in, or an extra ball glove. These small things may make a huge difference in a child’s life.