Justyn and Ubaldo

Ubaldo_Justyn_Treelot02

One year of friendship - Big Brother Ubaldo and Little Brother Justyn


December 2013 - The benefits of mentoring relationships are mutually rewarding. In the case of Ubaldo and Justyn, both are definitely getting just as much as they give out of their friendship.

We caught up with the duo at the IKEA Burlington Tree Lot on November 2013, as they were volunteering to sell Christmas trees together. The strength of their year-long friendship was immediately apparent.

A year into their friendship, Little Brother Justyn says he trusts his Big Brother Ubaldo, and feels like he can talk to him about anything. “He makes me happier and more confident,” says Justyn.

Like any 9-year-old, playing games, sports and various activities are among Ubaldo and Justyn’s pastimes; however, talking and communicating is an important part of their friendship, Ubaldo explains.

“Yes, we have fun and play, but we tend to talk about home life and school. I always try to help him understand that everything works out and sometimes being his age can be stressful,” says Ubaldo.

Throughout the past year, Ubaldo has not only been a mentor but also a friend to his Little Brother. “He helps me solve problems,” says Justyn, explaining that he has had some trouble with peers.

To Ubaldo, being a Big Brother is “about more than just being an influence to a younger child.” He says, “It’s about a willingness … to care for someone who’s not necessarily blood related, and still show the same level of respect and love for that person.”

Ubaldo’s positive attitude has definitely rubbed off on Justyn. “He acts like a real brother,” says Justyn, describing his Big Brother as: “funny, energetic, cool and fun to talk to. He always has something to talk about,” says Justyn.

With Ubaldo’s influence, Justyn has learned many new things over the past year. Justyn says that his Big Brother has taught him about Mexican culture: “He’s teaching me how to speak Spanish,” says Justyn, adding that they play Mexican Bingo together too.

Ubaldo has inspired an interest in history among Justyn as well – they frequent the Warplane Heritage Museum together.

And most recently, Justyn learned how to do a back flip on a trampoline at Zacada Circus School, a recreational facility where Ubaldo enjoys his pastime.

Justyn and Ubaldo share a love for dogs and sports. They often walk Potter, Ubaldo’s German Shepard/Husky-cross together, and have attended Ti-Cats and Bulldogs games.

Thirty-two-year-old Ubaldo admits that being a Big Brother has allowed him to reconnect with his youth. He says, “I have an excuse to act like a child again.”

November 2013 marked the duos ‘one year match anniversary.’ They plan to go out for dinner to Kelsey’s at the end of the month to celebrate.

When Justyn grows up, he wants to be a police officer or animal rescuer. When he is 18-years-old, he says he wants to be a Big Brother: “You can have somebody to talk to if you don’t have someone to talk to,” he says.

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