Wearing Two Hats: JBBBS Volunteer and Staff Member

Zachary Malenfant

On my first day working at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters, I quickly realized that this was going to be different from any company I had worked for before. Right away, I could feel the pride from my new coworkers regarding the impact we were having in the community. The world of non-profit fundraising was new to me so I got to know my coworkers very quickly as I was constantly knocking on their door to sheepishly ask questions. Each person really took the time to teach me the ropes with kindness and compassion and I quickly found my groove at JBBBS. To this day, that feeling of camaraderie is intact and I now, proudly, pay forward that spirit of compassion to any new faces that come through our door.

I remember the first time I got to see the impact first-hand was when I worked a weekend event at a New England Revolution game with some of the Children Program matches. I remember looking through the stands and seeing some of the Bigs and Littles cheering for the team, some seemed oblivious to the game chatting with each other, and some were nowhere to be seen, hanging out by the food vendors but everyone was having a great time. It was really inspiring, and I remember thinking to myself for the first time that maybe I could be a Big Brother. So, I did. I was matched for 1 year with my Little Brother.

After my Little moved to another state, I knew I wanted to continue volunteering with JBBBS but was looking for something that better fit my busy schedule. I applied to be part of the MAGIC program in Friend 2 Friend and have been matched with my Friend, also named Zack, for over 4 years.

We were matched shortly before the pandemic and only got to see each other in person a handful of times before we went into lockdown. It didn’t slow our friendship down at all though. Instead of meeting with the group in person, we would talk on the phone a couple of times a month. We would talk about what was going on in our lives; our pets, our relationships, our jobs, and we really got to know each other. Interestingly, I was talking to him more consistently than most of my other friends at that time. Once we were able to meet in person again it only got easier. We would show up at prearranged MAGIC (Monthly Activity Group In the Community) events and just hang out. I now not only look forward to seeing Zack at the events, but also all of our other friends in our MAGIC group, too!

When I think back on that first day working for JBBBS, I can’t believe how right I was that this place was going to be different. It has given me a great career where I can truly be proud of the work that I do, an amazing group of passionate coworkers that work so hard to support our matches, and volunteering opportunities that have had an incredible impact on my life.  

Zack Malenfant has worked for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters since January 2017. He has a Bachelor of Science from Arizona State University. When he is not working and volunteering, Zack enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife and dog. He is often found camping, hiking, or fishing.

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