Positively changing Canada
Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area has served children and youth in our community since 1971. Our organization provides the gold standard of mentoring to young people between the ages of 7 and 18 who face adverse childhood experiences.
Our mission is to enable life-changing mentoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people. Research shows that children with mentors, or Bigs as we call them, have greater social and emotional competence, improved mental health, and increased educational engagement and employment readiness.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area is part of a larger international movement that can trace its origins back to New York.
In 1904, a clerk in a New York children’s court named Ernest Kent Coulter approached a local men’s club on behalf of the children he was seeing day-in-day-out through his work. Coulter was a journalist, lawyer and child advocate and was looking for role models for these children. Forty volunteers stepped forward in what would become Big Brothers of America and eventually Big Sisters of America.
In 1971, there was a court judge in Ontario named Maurice Genest who, similar to Coulter, was seeing many young people in his courts who he believed could avert a sentence if they had a caring adult in their life. Under Genest’s leadership, a local committee was formed that rallied community support, including United Way, and led to the founding of Big Brothers of London.
Two years later, in 1973, Dr. Carol Brooks formed a small committee to carry out a needs assessment on young girls in the community. The results made it clear that girls were just as in need of mentors as boys, and from there, Big Sisters of London got its beginnings. The first Board of Directors was formed a year later and two years after that, it became a United Way agency.
In 2009, after following the success of other agencies across Canada that had unified, Big Brothers of London and Big Sisters of London merged and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area. Since that time, our organization has grown and we proudly serve over 1,200 children and youth in our community each year.
THE CONFIDENCE TO ACHIEVE MORE
All young people realize their full potential.
To enable life-changing mentoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people.
Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives.
Facing prolonged adversity creates toxic stress in the brain that can negatively impact development.
With the support of a mentor, these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth can reach their full potential.
Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives like detrimental living conditions, family violence, risk factors for mental health, school issues and identity challenges.
These circumstances have nothing to do with the value of who they are or who they can become, but because of these situations, children and youth risk not having the opportunity to live up to their full potential.
Even worse is the possibility of continuing cycles of poverty and crime or developing mental health issues.
This comes at a cost to the young person, and to society.
With the guidance and support of a mentor, these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth are reminded they can be anything they dream of being.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a Federation comprised of 108 member agencies servicing more than 1,100 communities across the country. Together we mobilize over 21,300 volunteers who in turn mentor 41,700+ children and young people. That works out to nearly:
2.2 million volunteer hours each year
Each Big Brother Big Sister agency provides direct service to children by matching volunteers and youths in quality mentoring relationships. Our agency staff members are experts at screening volunteers and matching them with a mentee having similar interests.
The national organization provides services and programs to our member agencies to assist them with their work with parents, mentees, and volunteers. Ranging from staff training workshops to our leading Child Safety Program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada works diligently to ensure we have superior quality programming in all parts of the country.