Every $1 invested in mentoring at Big Brothers Big Sisters returns $18 to society
Zac Piette is headed to university this fall to study politics, and he couldn’t be more excited. He’s already looking forward to learning about the internal workings of government, getting a part-time job on campus and living on Canada’s beautiful east coast. In short, he’s pumped.
Zac wasn’t always this excited about school. At 12, he moved to a new city, leaving his hometown and friends behind. Starting over was tough.“The big city felt very foreign to me,” Zac says. “It was difficult being new at school and it took a while to make friends. But the friends I did make are still around.”
One of those friends is his Big Brother, Wayne. Not long after moving to London, Zac’s mom connected with Big Brothers Big Sisters. When they got the call for a potential match, Zac was nervous at first.
“I wasn’t very confident back then,” he recalls. “I had no idea what to expect. But when I met Wayne, I knew it was going to be ok.”
Zac and Wayne went on their first outing that day, bonding over fries and a walk around the local park. The pair met weekly for walks, did science experiments (Mentos and diet coke was a hit), and most important, practiced how to do a proper handshake.
The summer of grade 8, Zac was headed to Queens Park to participate in the legislative page program. Wayne coached him on a solid hand shake, the key to making a good first impression. “I’d never shaken hands with anyone. How do you do that?” he remembers. “We spent a good five minutes every visit practicing until I had it down pat.” Zac left Queens Park inspired and has loved politics ever since. “I started taking part in my community and doing all sorts of things,” he says.
Fast-forward to the end of high school. University is still a few months away, but Zac is starting to think about a career in politics. In third year, he hopes to intern at a constituency office somewhere in Canada and gain valuable hands-on experience.“Wayne always pushed me to reach high and not settle,” he says.
“When I look around, I see a lot of things wrong with society and government. I want to be able to make important decisions for the better.”