To understand how I got involved with Big Brother Big Sisters and how this involvement progressed over time, I think it’s fitting to trace this to before I first volunteered. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I moved to Montréal, Québec, where I attended the high school Collège Bourget, located just outside the city on the way to Ottawa. While in high school, I developed a passion for athletics and, especially for basketball. Playing for various teams in the summer and during the school year, basketball offered me the chance to discover various regions of Québec and Ontario as well as some states in the US such as Massachusetts and Texas. It also brought me to Vanier College after high school where I competed for the varsity team.

Photo by Ben Welland.

However, while at Vanier College, enrolled in the Social Science program with majors in Women’s Studies and Sustainability Studies, I took more and more interest in my studies. With this newfound passion for learning coupled with the work ethic I honed as an athlete, I excelled academically. Similarly, as my intellectual curiosity spiked like never before, so did my drive for community service. In fact, as a member of Vanier Key Society, I decided to become a Big Brother mentor as a required project. This was a program that had drawn my attention previously since I worked five summers at day camp. At this point, my devotion for community service expanded as I volunteered for the Sustainability Studies department, Vanier’s Social Justice Committee, and the Women’s Studies department in various capacities.

Finally, regarding my mentorship program with Big Brothers Big Sisters, although the above activities may appear to be unrelated, they became a part of my life as I started my mentorship. That is to say these commitments affected the way I mentored my Little. For example, as much as possible I try to do activities that incorporate valuable lessons about life such as an appreciation for the environment. With this goal in mind we visited Montreal’s Biodome, its Biosphere, its Botanical Gardens and so on. In one sentence, my mentorship kept me oriented towards the future. This is why I chose to study Politics and Sustainable Development at Concordia University while continuing my mentorship.

As my Little and I strengthened our mentorship, I started participated in nationwide events on mentoring such as the YOUth in Office program in May 2016 and the National Mentoring Symposium in Banff, Alberta, last November. At these events, I met youth with an inspiring message to share and contagious enthusiasm. I also learned a lot about the mentoring movement across Canada and the various organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, leading the charge. Ultimately, to be invited on the National Youth Advisory Council, for me, is also a chance to help steer the mentoring movement. With my fellow Youth Advisors, I’m excited to see where this takes me.