Community Matters: Little has Big impact on Volunteer
By Claire Theobald, Edmonton Sun
Andy Anderson started with Big Brothers Big Sisters as a mentor, now he and his Little are more like family.
“I just tell people he is my brother, and he introduces me as his older brother,” says Anderson. “We just kind of fit together.”
Anderson has been a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters for four years, an organization that provides positive mentorship to kids unlocking their potential and opening their eyes to what their lives could be.
When Anderson first met his Little, the 12-year-old was shy and unsure of himself. Over the last four years, the pair have grown together and Anderson has watched his Little grow into a confident young man, and an integral part of his family.
“It’s become a huge part of my life,” Anderson says.
While Anderson is working long hours in construction, raising a family of his own, planning a wedding and buying a house, Anderson always makes time for his Little, seeing him at least once a week.
Even Anderson’s boss knows his Little comes first.
“It’s something you can’t really go into half way,” says Anderson, “you really have to go into it whole heartedly.”
Anderson’s Little, now 16, is even in his wedding party.
Anderson has been able to share his life experience with his Little, and through his Little, Anderson has been able to relive some of his teenage years, entering soap box derbies and exploring events throughout the city together.
“It’s not just helping the Little,” says Anderson. “The Big gets a chance to grow with the Little.”
The two are even close with each other’s families, with Anderson becoming close with his Little’s mother and two sisters, and taking him to visit his father in Grande Prairie. Anderson’s daughter calls his Little “uncle.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is glad to have mentors like Anderson, and are actively recruiting more male mentors to help inspire their Littles.
Anderson and his Little have two more years before his Little ages out of Big Brothers Big Sisters, but their friendship is far from over.
“We’ve got another two years with Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Anderson says, “but guaranteed we’ll be friends forever.”by