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Be a bigger you with Big Brothers Big Sisters

September is Big Brothers Big Sisters month
Big Sister Britt (right) enjoys some time at the bowling alley with her Little Sister Janessa. (Photo submitted)

Most Canadians watch the daily news and think, “how can I help?” You can make a difference in a child and youth’s life by being a big volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).

BBBS is a no-cost community program for young people who can benefit from an additional consistent relationship with an adult. Almost 80% of BBBS families identify as living with financial stress. This could include precarious employment, no employment, or single-income homes with multiple dependents. Many Canadian families struggle to pay for the necessities. Extra-curricular programs or even basic programs, like tutoring or counselling often do not fit within the household budget. BBBS programs have been provided at no cost to families for over 100 years, including 44 years in Quesnel. BBBS believes all young people deserve access to personalized supportive, skill-building opportunities and our BBBS Mentors provide just that.

Through mentorship, Big Brothers Big Sisters can ensure that adversities faced in childhood do not define a young person’s adulthood. BBBS intervenes with a caring adult who creates a buffer between the child and their daily stressors. The trusting relationship built between mentee and mentor protects the mentee’s healthy development. Science shows that providing stable, responsive, nurturing relationships to young people can prevent or even reverse the damaging effects of early life stress, with lifelong benefits for learning, behavior, and health. BBBS program evaluations repeatedly tell us that our mentees are happier, healthier and more committed to learning because of their mentors. But BBBS also has an impact on our adult volunteer mentors.

Read More: Being a Big Sisters has a big impact – on both sides

We know our programs support the growth, happiness and success of our volunteers. BBBS has hundreds of testimonials from volunteer mentors describing how beneficial mentoring was for them personally and professionally as they acquired new skills, expanded their perspective, tried new things, and felt good about giving back to their community. Without the intervention of our mentors, some of our mentees may not be where they are today. Families enroll their children in our programs because they recognize the need for their child to have the friendship provided by a mentor.

Put simply, relationships play a powerful role in preventing long-term health problems, making mentorship an essential intervention for children who live with adversities. New research urges service providers to reach young people early in life, and BBBS services do just that. Across the country, BBBS works to reach young people during their critical years of development, ages 7 to 11, so that our intervention has a chance to buffer childhood stress and ignite a child’s unique potential.

BBBS is incredibly proud to be a part of so many diverse communities across Canada. We are grateful that communities trust us, welcome us and share our belief in the power of mentoring and the infinite potential of our youth.

As we celebrate September as being Big Brother Big Sister Month look for our agency staff being out and about in the community.

-Big Brothers Big Sisters of Quesnel

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