The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Program
Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives, but with the support of mentors, youth can reach their full potential.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program has been offered at Our Kids Count since 2017. The program provides mentoring to young people between the ages of 7 and 17. BBBS offers a variety of different programs in schools and in the community.
Each month, the BBBS Program receives a number of referrals from concerned parents, teachers and social workers for children and youth in the community who need an additional positive adult role model in their lives. There are wait lists for these mentoring programs, the most concerning one being the community-based mentor program which consistently has 30 youth on it. In order for these youth to receive the support they need; we are continuously recruiting more volunteer mentors.
“The decision to join Big Brothers Big Sisters has brought so much more to my life than I expected. Introducing my “little” to new experiences brings both of us joy and the opportunity for her to explore her creativity and talents. It is truly my honour to be the “big” to such a sweet and kind young lady. I highly recommend mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters to anyone who wants to make a difference in a child’s life, but also to feel a greater sense of purpose in their own.”
When the right mentee and mentor get matched, it can be life changing for all involved. One of these great success stories is Kourtney Ford and her two children. Kourtney came to Big Brothers Big Sisters looking for a mentor for her daughter Aleena, 14 at the time, and her son Mayson, 13. They have since both been matched, with Aleena being matched first. Females are usually matched first due to most mentors being female. Aleena was matched with her mentor Sara; she is a kind, patient and fun mentor who has lots in common with Aleena. Sara and Aleena spend time regularly doing fun activities like baking or going to Wacky Wings to eat and play games. While Aleena was going out and spending 1:1 time with her mentor, Mayson patiently waited for his. Finally, a few months later, Mayson was matched as well! Mayson was matched with Griffin who is outgoing, active, and fun… a perfect match. The two got along right away and have been spending time together going to the movies or out for a hike and exploring. Today, both of these matches are going strong, with Aleena and Mayson spending less time at home in their rooms by themselves and enjoying new opportunities and experiences out in the community.
“I am writing on behalf Big Brother Big Sister program. I am a mother of two children, one who has a mentor and one which is waiting for one. My daughter has had the pleasure of being matched with a mentor that I couldn’t be happier with. This lady has brought the smile and joy back to my daughter, allowing her to know that there are things outside of the house that can be fun and has shown her that going out is safe, and doesn’t mean you will be judged outside the home. I had requested a mentor for my daughter as she was isolating and losing her sense of self. Believing there was nothing good about being out of the home. I couldn’t be more thankful for what this program and the mentor have done for my daughter.
I also have a son who is on the wait list. They are always checking in with me, allowing me to be aware that they haven’t forgot about my son. Makes him feel important and he couldn’t be more excited to find out who his match will be. I have asked for him to be paired with a mentor as he has separation anxiety and anger issues. Always feeling bullied and alone. I believe once he finds his match, he will succeed in finding that none of that is true. Thank you BBBS for all you have done.
A special thanks goes out to Brianne Maxwell for all the hard work in finding the most suitable mentor for my kids.”
— Kourtney Ford (written prior to Mayson being matched)
Thank-you so much to the United Way of Thunder Bay for your continuous support to the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program.
If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Brianne – Big Brothers Big Sisters Coordinator