At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Monday, June 15, 2015

What Has Big Brothers Meant to Me?

by Brian Weller

Big Brothers was introduced into my life at age thirteen, one year after I lost my Toronto ex-policeman father. That was when I met my Big Brother, Wayne. Some of our more memorable times together would include going to the stock car races at Pinecrest and other tracks, with some time spent in the pits afterwards with drivers he knew. We also had visits with his close family, who always made me feel at home.

Having a Big Brother was such a positive experience for me that, at twenty-one, I became a Big Brother myself, to two fatherless boys in Toronto, and played on the Big Brothers Toronto hockey team.

For a time, Wayne and I were asked to assist together at the orientation meetings, where we would introduce the agency to prospective Big Brothers. In the early 1970s, I moved my young family and became a volunteer with Big Brothers Oshawa/Whitby. Jean ran the agency at the time when we set up the Big Brothers hockey team to play in the local Durham Men’s League. Our team, with the addition of former NHL stars like Ron Ellis and Dick Duff, would also play a benefit game once a year at the Civic Auditorium against Dave Duval and the CFTO Bassett Hounds, with the crowd supporting an equipment fund for our needy Little Brothers.

I have now known Wayne for forty-nine years, and our friendship continues to this day, although things have changed. Now it’s me who picks him up, taking him to events he enjoys, like seeing LeAnn Rimes at Massey Hall or Merle Haggard in Rama. Wayne and his wife, Marie, are good friends with my wife’s family and are included in family functions. You reap what you sow! Wayne was my best man at my wedding forty years ago, and we still maintain regular contact. To paraphrase, “A heart is not known for how much you love but how much you are loved by others.”

Today, I am semi-retired from a successful York Region manufacturing business that my son now operates. My wife and I have four children and four grandchildren. Wayne and Marie took a hurting thirteen-year-old child into their hearts many years ago, and for that I will always be grateful.

Magic happens when a caring adult stoops to help a youngster in need! Every fatherless boy needs a Big Brother, and every motherless girl deserves a Big Sister to share time with, talk to, or confide in. From the Soap Box Derby to the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the focus is always on the child! Volunteering makes a big difference in everyone’s life.

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