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Former Big Brother lends helping hand with fundraiser
Being a Big Brother has been the gift that keeps on giving for Mark Sippola, and now he plans to give back.
“It was a great experience for both of us,” said Sippola.
He’s 50 years old, but he’ll take on his “little brother” over the weekend in a game of squash. Mark’s spotting him 23 years, and isn’t sure he’ll give him a run for his money. “We’ll see.”
It will be the latest of hundreds of outings over the years. Sippola did not have kids of his own, so he became a Big Brother. They went mountain biking, hiking, or just sat around and played video games. Thief was their game.
“As an adult, it allowed me to do kid things again,” he said. “And you’re not consciously trying to be a positive influence, but you’re just there.”
They hung out on a regular basis from when his little brother was 12 until he “aged out” of Big Brothers at the age of 18. He went off to university in Saskatchewan, and came back to Maple Ridge a lawyer. Now he has a family of his own.
That’s been the best part of the whole experience for Sippola.
“After the whole thing, to see him go on to better things and be so successful is the highlight,” he said. “I like to think I played some small role in who he is today.”
They keep in touch, and go for dinner on occasion.
Sippola is organizing a Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser on Aug. 22 at Delizie Italiane Bakery and Bistro. He has teamed up with several local businesses in the project.
People are encouraged to contribute $10 donations to Big Brothers/Big Sisters and be entered to win one of three great prizes donated by local businesses.
“This is an important organization that definitely makes a difference in the lives of young people.” said Sippola.
“When I approached the owners at Delizie Italiane Bakery and Bistro with the idea of holding a raffle to raise some funds for a local charity, the owners Rosangela and Daniele Atte jumped right in and suggested Big Brothers and Big Sisters as an organization that they fully support,” he added.
Dinner for six from Delizie is the top prize, three hours of free house cleaning compliments of Dust Devils Maid Service, and an 18x36 inch fine art print of Tofino by Sippola, who is also an amateur photographer.
Raffle tickets are available at the café 22266 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
Winners will be chosen on Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. The event at Delizie runs from 7-9 p.m. Everyone is welcome and for a small donation, you get slice of cake and cup of coffee.He said 100 per cent of all proceeds from this fundraiser raffle and event will go to the “Bigs” organization.
• To learn more about volunteering for Big Brothers, visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.