One of our Big Brothers, Rob Ross, has been volunteering with us for over 40 years. We celebrated his outstanding volunteerism in 2016 by nominating him for several awards, including the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General Community Safety & Crime Prevention Award. After winning that award, Rob was invited to give a speech in Victoria at the awards ceremony. Below is his speech which includes personal anecdotes from his 40 years of being a Big Brother.

“This is an incredible honour. In fact, it has been somewhat overwhelming.

If we had the time, I would love to tell you about each of my Little Brothers, but let me tell you about two.

Rich was my third Little Brother. Life was not easy for him. He had attended an inner-city school and his dad was in prison. Rich was full of energy and quick to get into trouble. I took him to Chuck E. Cheese’s one night and couldn’t see him anywhere. I learned that the staff had kicked him out for pulling Chuck E.’s tail.

Rich spoke at a BBBS of Langley golf tournament a few years ago. At that time, he said that if it had not been for our match, he would have ended up in jail. Rich is now in his 40s. He is married, he is a father, and he is an ultra-marathon runner. I phoned him last week to get permission to use his name and share some of his story. He gave me permission and said, “I did get in trouble, but it was minor things. I tried not to get in serious trouble because I didn’t want to disappoint you.”

Before Rich, I had a difficult match. My little was often not home when I went to pick him up and when was, he often didn’t want to do things I suggested. I felt I wasn’t being effective and I considered not being rematched, but I was lucky I could talk openly to a case worker at the Langley office who would support me. If I had not had that support and I had left the agency, I never would have had those years with Rich or with the other nine Littles after him.

The difficult Little I was talking about phoned me when he was 24 and invited me to his wedding. He also wanted me to go golfing with him a few days before he was to be married. While we walked the course, he told me what a difference I had made in his life and how sorry he was that he had behaved the way he had.

I share these stories for two reasons. One is that funding to support community agencies is essential to their success. They need to have a competent and effective staff.

My second reason is that when we spend time with someone, we never know the impact we are having. All of us have people in our lives who have played a significant role and often they do not even know it.

Thank you again for this honour.”