By JCS staff
You have the power to change a life. You don’t have to be a superhero or have special powers. Sharing your kind heart, a little bit of your time, and some undivided attention can transform a child’s future forever. Can there be a greater legacy than that? The bonus…it will transform your life, too.
Right now, there are several boys and some girls in our community who need a caring adult friend and mentor. The Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Program of JCS is looking for Jewish men and women who want to enrich a child’s life. We can help you “go Big” and match you with your ‘Little.”
The impact that Jared’s Big Brother had on his life was so powerful that he knew he wanted to pay it forward. Here’s his story.
When I was an infant, I lost my father. I never got to create a bond with him because he died when I was so young. Since not having a dad around was all I knew, it wasn’t really a big deal for me as a kid. So, when my mom signed me up to get a Big Brother through the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister program at Jewish Community Services, I wasn’t exactly thrilled. At first, I actually thought it may be a punishment, since it seemed like my mom might be trying to pass me off to someone else. Then, I wondered if maybe this guy was single. If he was, and we hit it off, maybe I could get him to marry my mom, and we could be a happy family.
It turns out that Seth, the Big Brother I was matched with, was married. So, although he didn’t become my dad, hanging out with him was still one of the best things to happen to me. Whether it was going out to eat, heading to the movies, or just tossing a baseball around to help me practice for Little League, the time I spent with Seth was priceless. I knew I had a special connection with my Big. It was a connection that would end up lasting into adulthood. In fact, we still hang out to this day.
When I became an adult, I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to give back to the community and be a Big Brother myself. I was matched with my Little Brother when he was 10, and this year he started college.
Watching him grow and mature and helping him navigate difficult hurdles in his life has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done. I encourage everyone to do it, especially young adults like me. I started volunteering as a Big Brother in my early 20’s, and because of my age, I was able to connect in a different kind of way. Of course, being an older Big has its benefits as well, but it makes me so happy when my friends see what I am doing and want to become a Big as well. My Big Brother inspired me to give back to my community, and I hope that my words will inspire you!
We love stories like Jared’s. They are the reason our program exists – to help children get the extra support and attention they need to thrive.
The volunteer coordinators at Jewish Community Services (JCS) provide our Bigs with orientation, training, ongoing support and free passes to enjoy outings around town with their Littles. If you have been wondering how you can make a difference, this is a great opportunity for adults of all ages and life stages.
If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of “going Big,” contact Bracha Goetz at 410-843-7453 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deb Hamburger at 410-843-7305 or at email@example.com.
JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors. To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200.