BBBS Board Member Spotlight: Dylan Van Den Einde

Dylan Van Den Einde

Ask Dylan Van Den Einde why he volunteers as a Big Brother, and he is quick to say that he wants to help someone else experience what he had growing up. Raised in Fertile, MN, Dylan credits his loving family and supportive community for providing the solid foundation that has helped him succeed as an adult. He remembers kids in school who were in tough situations and might be headed down the wrong path. His mother made her expectations clear; instead of letting anyone be a bad influence on him, he must be a positive role model for others.

Dylan graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in Finance and now works as a Financial Services Professional for New York Life in the F-M area. That is where he first learned about Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of The Village Family Service Center. The program is always in need of volunteers and puts out a call through local businesses. Dylan responded and was invited to serve on the local advisory committee. Through this committee, he learned how a Big Brother can impact the life of a child. The connection between his positive childhood experiences and the opportunity to mentor a Little Brother clicked, and Dylan applied to be matched with a local youth.

BBBS began in 1904 when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, so he set out to find volunteers, marking the beginning of the Big Brothers movement. In Fargo-Moorhead, the organization traces its roots back to 1966 and has been a program of The Village Family Service Center since 1973.

BBBS works to ensure that Bigs and Littles, as they are affectionately known, are a good fit. Those who volunteer as Bigs are thoroughly vetted before they are ready to be matched with a Little. Dylan was matched with a 12-year-old boy who has no siblings. His mother and grandparents provide a loving home, but they wanted the boy to have a positive role model outside the family.

Dylan and his Little

At first, Dylan wanted to share his love of sports and being active with his Little. It didn’t take long to realize that his Little didn’t share his same interests, and he would need to take a different approach. Now they have built a nurturing relationship doing things like going to the library, playing cards, learning new games, stopping for ice cream or just sitting in the park to talk.

The Big/Little relationship benefits both adult volunteers and youth. Dylan says his time as a Big has helped him grow personally as he learned how to be more intentional with his Little. Listening carefully and being responsive to the needs of his Little are skills that he now uses with others. He notes the deep sense of purpose that comes from volunteering as a Big.

“It’s bigger than you,” Dylan notes. “The time invested in mentoring a Little can help them during a very vulnerable time.”

BBBS always needs volunteer mentors, especially Big Brothers. There are currently more than 60 Littles waiting for a match. The program has a proven record of success. Kids with a Big Brother or Big Sister show real differences in their personal and academic lives. They are more confident in their school performance, able to get along better with their families, and 52% less likely to skip school.

If you are looking for ways to give back to the community, consider volunteering to mentor a child as a Big Brother or Big Sister. Dylan hopes his experience as a Big Brother will inspire others. “Be a light in the life of a young person,” he says. “You can make a difference for years to come.”

Click here to learn more about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, or call us at 701-451-4900. 

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