Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh (BBBS) is the region’s premier evidenced-based youth mentoring agency, specializing in developing strong one-to-one relationships that make a positive impact on the lives of young children that face challenging circumstances.
Randy Mardayat, Software Engineer at the Pittsburgh office, has volunteered his time to the BBBS program as a big brother for the past six years and has been practicing the art of Brazilian Jiu Jistu (BJJ) for nearly a year.
*Bigs and Littles being taught the double armbar submission from the closed guard
On March 2nd, BBBS held a Big Possibilities event at True Believer Jiu Jitsu, where Bigs and Littles were shown fundamental BJJ techniques by head instructor Jake Miclot. In addition to his teachings, Jake shared his powerful life story and how BJJ helped shaped the person he’s become.
I sat down with Randy to talk with him about the event, his role at BBBS and of course, BJJ.
1. What motivated you to start volunteering at BBBS?
I’ve always been motivated to volunteer for BBBS, but it was a matter of having the time to do it because it is a long term commitment. Being a resident of Pittsburgh, I wanted to make a difference in our community and I believe the best way to do it is by mentoring kids to be their best.
2. How did you come across BJJ and how has it affected your life?
The fitness gym I go to has BJJ school on the ground floor and I knew Jake Miclot, the head instructor of True Believer BJJ, for a few years before I started doing BJJ. Every time I go to the gym, Jake would always tease me by asking me where my gi was. Eventually, I got tired of him always asking me where my gi was and decided to try BJJ haha. Joking aside, I’ve always wanted to try BJJ and last May was the perfect opportunity to try it out. BJJ has impacted my life in a positive way because I feel the most fit I’ve ever been, I’ve learned self-defense, and made new friends. Fun fact: Nic Easton (Scrum Master at Net Health, Pittsburgh)’s best friend trains at True Believer BJJ and is one of the toughest people I’ve trained with.
3. How did the BBBS and True Believer event come about?
I wanted the Bigs and Littles to have the opportunity to try something new and have fun at the same time. So, I got together with BBBS and Jake Miclot, and we all decided it would be worth it to have a BBBS/True Believer BJJ day. The event was truly a blast.
4. BJJ is a very physical sport and can be intimidating at first. How did the Bigs and Littles respond to the BJJ at the event?
The Bigs and Littles responded very well to BJJ. Jake was able to show them how to do basic moves which are good for anyone new to BJJ.
5. What advice would you give to those who are interested in becoming a volunteer Big Brother/Big Sister or looking to give BJJ a try?
The commonality between being a Big for BBBS and training BJJ is that both things make you step out of your comfort zones. But once you get started and stay with it, it’s not so bad, and you become a better human being because of it.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh is hosting its Bowl for Kids’ Sake (BFKS) charity bowling event in March and April and Randy is accepting donations to support the event. If you’d like to donate, click here.
Learn more about True Believer Jiu Jitsu in the link.
We’re a charitable bunch here at Net Health! Read how Chris Shomo and Paul Schillinger raise money by live-streaming a 25-hour video game marathon.