Meet Norbert – Feature Funder & Big Brother
Volunteering offers a powerful opportunity to create meaningful connections and positively impact the lives of others. This month we interviewed Norbert, a scientist from the research community in Waterloo, who shares his experience as a volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region. From his motivations to the impact he has witnessed, we delve into the transformative power of mentoring and the importance of community involvement.
The Motivation to Volunteer
Norbert’s decision to volunteer was inspired by his experience as a godfather, which taught him the importance of a strong relationship for a child outside of their immediate family. In 2011, Norbert discovered BBBSWR’s one-on-one program, he realized the opportunity it presented to provide that crucial connection to a child who is in need.
Mentoring holds immense value for Norbert. It serves as a grounding force, offering him a break from his daily routine and responsibilities while focusing on nurturing a meaningful relationship. Witnessing a child’s growth, development, and the building of self-trust and opportunities is a rewarding experience that brings purpose to his life.
Norbert shares his 12-year journey as a Big Brother, highlighting the recent graduation of his Little Brother from college—a significant achievement they celebrate together. Additionally, he is involved in the Host-Home Program of oneROOF, showcasing his commitment to volunteering and supporting various community initiatives.
The Importance of Community
Recognizing the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” Norbert emphasizes the significance of community involvement. He believes that communities thrive through the interplay of individuals at different stages of life, where giving and receiving support become intertwined, creating a sense of belonging and support for everyone involved.
For Norbert, the favorite part of being a mentor lies in the moments of calm and simplicity shared with his Little Brother. Engaging in activities they both enjoy, such as sledding or bouldering, allows them to revisit childhood experiences and embark on new adventures together.
The Impact of Mentoring
Norbert recalls heartwarming memories of his Little Brother’s joy, from singing and jumping after a day of sailing, to being captivated by a stunning sunset at Pioneer Park. These precious moments reflect the deep connection and positive impact fostered through their mentoring relationship.
With pride, Norbert reflects on the transformation he has witnessed in his Little Brother, seeing him develop into a confident individual who trusts in himself and his abilities. It reaffirms the importance of his role as a mentor in shaping a young person’s life.
To those considering volunteering with BBBSWR, Norbert wholeheartedly encourages them to seize the opportunity. He emphasizes that building a long-term relationship with a young person is incredibly rewarding, and the time commitment naturally falls into place, offering mutual fulfillment. He reassures potential volunteers that simple day-to-day activities, like cooking, running errands, or going for a bike ride, create the strongest bonds and provide opportunities for meaningful conversations.
Norbert’s Continued Support
For 12 years, Norbert met regularly with his Little Brother prior to the match transitioning to the Alumni program. Following his match, Norbert has continued to be a regular donor of BBBSWR. When asked about his philanthropic outlook and support for BBBSWR, Norbert reflects on the significance of “helping children start their lives on the right path.” He believes that there is no greater cause than ensuring that young individuals receive the support and guidance they need to flourish.
Thank you Norbert — BBBSWR is INCREDIBLY grateful for your impactful time spent as a mentor and now as a regular supporter.