More than just a volunteer job

Big Brothers Big Sisters turns 100, continues to build unique families

Allison Moulson

Allison Moulson

Neither Allison Moulson or Edward Parker knew quite what they were getting themselves into when they agreed to participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters in-school mentoring program. For Allison, then 24 years old and considering a career in education, it was to be a means of volunteering with children. Edward, just eight-years-old at the time and living with a single father and older brother, wasn’t entirely sure what he hoped to gain from the experience, but he had some idea with whom he’d like to share it.

“I chose a big sister because I didn’t have a mother or a girl in my life that I could do stuff with,” said Edward, now 14 years-old and sporting pink hair beneath his toque. “I chose a sister and they chose her.”

Though she had no part in the matching process, Allison felt a desire to connect with Edward once she heard of his earnest request.

“I really wanted to be a positive role model in his life from the beginning. I wanted him to know what it was like to have a mom in his life and I try to be that person for him, to have that type of relationship.”

The pair initially met at Cloverdale elementary where Edward was a student and played a round of Guess Who. Over the years, they moved from playing board games and chatting at Cloverdale, to a community program that allowed them to enjoy activities around town. Today Edward and Allison are technically enrolled in a couples match program through BBBS due to Allison’s husband Nathanael’s equal involvement with Edward, though neither of the three would explain their relationship in terms of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ programming framework.

“It eventually got to the point where we would do things as a family,” said Nathanael, a naval officer. “Once you start putting names and faces to an effort like that, you’re no longer doing it because it’s for Big Brothers Big Sisters; you’re doing it because it’s for a person.”

Not without the standard trials and tribulations of life – such as piercing his lip and later accepting Nathanael’s bribe to remove the facial jewelry – Edward says he’s experienced a personality change since spending time with the Moulsons.

“I learned lessons – life lessons,” Edward said with a smile.

Whether baking with Allison, talking finances with Nathaneal or having the chance to pilot HMCS Regina on a family trip to Vancouver – the Moulsons have impacted every sector of Edward’s life. Two years ago the biggest life lesson came when Allison gave birth to Eli and Edward gained a little sister.

Last year when Edward’s father went through a difficult time financially and Edward needed a place to stay, the Moulsons became his foster parents for six months. Suddenly Allison and Nathanael had a one year old and a 13 year old – a set up that gave them a sneak peek at raising a teen full-time and also afforded the couple some babysitting help. The deal included a family discount, Edward said.

“Basically the worst happened and we were able to step in and provide support beyond the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, but nevertheless, it would never have happened without Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

Edward is now happily living with his father once more.

“Maybe that doesn’t happen to everyone, but it could,” Nathanael said. “It’s not unrealistic.”

Edward describes his transformation from his first time spent with Allison as going from being happy to “even happier, joyful.”

“I wasn’t really thinking long term and how much he would be involved in our day-to-day life,” she said. “I wasn’t really thinking about children then either, but now that he’s in our life, it’s come full circle.”

Edward has considered one day being a big brother himself, though not necessarily as defined by the charity.

“In a way I am already,” he says.

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Forty-two residential properties in Oak Bay were assessed the speculation and vacancy tax in 2019 for a total of $693,000. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
74 Oak Bay property owners paid $693,000 in spec tax

42 properties were assessed with the SVT in 2019

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Dr. Shannon Waters, the medical health officer for the Cowichan Valley Region, is reminding people to stay the course with COVID-19 measures. (File photo)
‘Stay the course’ with COVID measures, Island Health reminds

Limit social activity, wash hands, wear a mask, and isolate if you feel sick

Cowichan Tribes members line up at a drive-up clinic on Wednesday, Jan. 13 to receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the region. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
BCAFN condems racism against Cowichan Tribes after COVID-19 outbreak

“Any one of us could do everything right and still catch the virus”: Regional Chief Terry Teegee.

Most Read