Life is Better with Ice Cream: Scooping it Forward from Little to Big 

By Isaac Silberberg

I’m Isaac Silberberg, and today I want to encourage you to sign up as a Big during April, which is National Volunteer Month. I’ve been lucky to experience the transformative power of mentorship through the Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters (JBBBS) program as both a mentee and a mentor.

A bit about my life outside of JBBBS: I grew up around Boston. I’m a big Boston sports fan. I’ve worked in companies of all sizes. I love to ski and cook, but not at the same time! I’m a foodie with a massive sweet tooth and my favorite dessert is ice cream.  

An early memory I have is sitting down in a diner with my mom and dad, and somehow convincing my dad to order dessert first. When the server asked what I’d be eating, I giggled and asked for an ice cream sundae. When she sighed and looked to my dad, as if to ask “and what will your child actually be eating?” my dad grinned and joined in, exclaiming “I’ll have one, too!” 

I still have a photo of that meal in the diner. I cherish every memory I can. My father passed away from cancer when I was five. Like so many Littles at JBBBS, I had no idea there was an organization that would be able to step in and provide me with an important mentoring relationship in my life when I so desperately needed one. In fact, I had two Bigs through JBBBS as a kid.  

My experience as a Little was exactly what I needed. Playing frisbee and football on the esplanade. I remember watching the Patriots-Steelers AFC championship game in 2002 with my Big and a bunch of his friends, and the euphoria of people honking their car horns across Boston in the aftermath. Building Lego cities and playing in arcades together. Plenty of JP Licks trips. Though they live on the West Coast now, I still text both my Bigs, over 20 years later. 

As an adult, I knew I wanted to come full circle, so I signed up to be a Big. Being a Big was everything I hoped for and more. Volunteering with JBBBS makes a massive difference in the life of a young person.

To anyone considering becoming a Big, I say: go for it. Signing up to be a Big helps JBBBS make more matches, but also helps make better matches. Just like ice cream to delight a large group of people, many flavors are needed. Play sports? Prefer board games? An avid bird-watcher? Museum aficionado? Just want to take walks, talk, and explore a new ice cream place every month? Somewhere, closer than you think, a Little needs you. 

I’m so thankful I have been able to experience JBBBS as a Little and a Big. I hope you join me during National Volunteer Month. You don’t need mentorship to live, but you also don’t need ice cream. Life is a lot better with both. 

Isaac Silberberg is a former Little Brother and Big Brother with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. He grew up in Brookline. He holds degrees from MIT and MIT Sloan School of Management. Isaac has worked at startups and on political campaigns. He served as a JBBBS Young Professionals Ambassador and served on the Gala Committee for Gala ‘99. He currently works at Boston Consulting Group.

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