5 types of role models you end up becoming when you volunteer as a mentor

Aug 13 2018, 4:46 pm

If you want to make a difference while having fun and feeling good, then Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) could be perfect for you.

The local charity is looking for male and female volunteers aged 18 and over with a passion for helping, teaching, and hanging out. Their mission is to support mentorship in local communities and help you become a supporting friend to a child or youth in your neighbourhood.

September 18 marks Big Brothers and Big Sisters Day, and you might even see some of Vancouver’s biggest landmarks lighting up in celebration including Rogers Arena, Science World, and BC Place.

If you’re thinking whether this is the right fit for you, here are five types of role models you could become when you volunteer with BBGV.

The Friend

If you’re the person who helps your neighbour get their cat out of a tree, or comes to the rescue when your coworker is overwhelmed with paperwork. It’s easy to see that you’re a good friend to many.

In the eyes of your Little Brother, you’re one of their friends! Whether it’s lending an ear, offering advice, or just having fun, you’ll happily be there for your friends. The world can always use another great friend; be that friend.

The Teacher


You love explaining how things work, sometimes to the chagrin of your brunchmates/family members/partner/co-workers, etc.

You’ve got a ton of wisdom to impart, and instead of driving your loved ones crazy with yet another napkin diagram, why not share it with a little dude or dudette who shares your interests and is hungry to learn?

When it comes down to it, you’re kind of a Ms. Frizzle figure. And although you may not be able to transform into microscopic plankton or turn your vehicle into a spaceship, you’re sure to make a lasting impression on a kid who’s as down to build a rocket, play basketball, or paint a mural as you are.

The Big Little Kid

Being an adult can be complicated and scary, and sometimes you just need a break from taxes, bosses, bills, and car trouble. As a Big Brother, you’re reliable and consistent, but you also relish the opportunity to check out from the grown-up world for a few hours and embrace your inner child with a kindred spirit.

And hey – who doesn’t want to spend the day watching cartoons, building a treehouse, listing your favourite Pokémon, and eating cookies for dinner, sans judgment?

The Converter

Mentor/Big Brother’s Canada

You’re a role model for your friends, and you lead by example. Through your actions in the community, you inspire the people around you to want to be the best versions of themselves – and you help and support them in working towards that goal.

When people interact with you they can’t help but wonder what you’re doing that gives you such a joie de vivre, at which point you’re more than happy to tell them about your mentoring and why you find it so fulfilling. To your delight, you’ll notice a sharp uptick in volunteers since you started sharing your passions with your community. You’re not just Type A — you’re Type Awesome.

The Student

From learning life lessons to current dance moves to a reliable answer for questions such as “what is this terrible music?” and “what does {slang term} mean?”, mentoring a child or teen is a great way to keep up with the kids of today.

Whether you’re into learning how to use that gadget you just bought, which social media sites are still relevant, or basic existentialist theory, kids have never been smarter — and you’re smart enough to know that you can learn from them.

From start to finish the mentoring experience is LIT, like the kids would say (but you already knew that).

Ready to volunteer? Here’s the lowdown on becoming a mentor!

How am I matched with my Little Brother or Mentee?

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver match potential Big and Little Brothers and Mentees based on location, interests, and values, so you can have the biggest impact on (and the most fun with) a young person in your community.

The kids on their waitlist love all types of sports, but they also have kids who are into arts and crafts and pretty much anything else you can think of, so chances are it won’t be hard to find the perfect fit.

How much time am I expected to commit to being a Big Brother?

It’s up to you! To be a volunteer mentor, BBGV usually asks for a commitment of at least one year. If you’d like to give mentoring a test drive before going all in, their Game On! Program runs eight weeks long and their In-School Mentor after-school program runs for up to eight months.

Although the idea of being a mentor may seem intimidating, it’s by no means an all-consuming role – you just have to be a friend and mentor to a child in your community!

Are there any specific qualifications I need to become a Big Brother?

BBGV typically look for male and female volunteers who are interested in committing to and spending time with kids and young teens, as well as dedicated to contributing to their communities. You don’t need any specific traits or credentials to be a mentor — you can make a difference just by being you and being there! The most important thing is the ability to be consistent and reliable.

Where are mentors needed?

The highest needs areas are Surrey, Tri-Cities, and Richmond, where BBGV have a waitlist average of two to three years before a Little Brother can be matched with a Big Brother. However, BBGV have kids all over the Lower Mainland area of Greater Vancouver who are waiting to be matched with the right mentor.

Could it be you? (It could.)

Visit Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver now for more information and to sign up.

If you’re in the area on Tuesday, September 18 we encourage taking a photo with the landmarks illuminated for Big Brothers and Big Sisters Day, and tag BBGV at @bigbrothersyvr, #bigbrothersyvr, and #bbbsmonth.

In Vancouver, these locations include BC Place, sails at Canada Place, Science World, Rogers Arena, and Vancouver City Hall.

In the Tri-Cities, you’ll find them at the fountain at Lafarge Lake, the Skytrain guideway pillars at Pinetree Way, the light columns at Pinetree Way at City Hall,  and the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam.

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