Positively changing Canada

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Big Brothers of London: Big Brothers of London started in 1971 by a committee under the leadership of Provincial Court Judge Maurice Genest. His vision to offer mentorship to youth developed as he found that he was sentencing many young people coming through his court and believed that, if they had a caring adult in their life, a sentence could have been averted. Community support along with the United Way and other generous donors quickly helped build a strong and viable organization for young boys.

Big Sisters of London: In 1973, Dr. Carol Brooks formed a small committee to carry out a needs assessment on young girls within the London community; the results informed the committee who in turn established Big Sisters of London. By 1974 the first Board of Directors was formed and by 1976 Big Sisters of London became a United Way agency.

This organization had a vision to provide programming to young girls who were in need of a Big Sister and they stayed true to that vision. In 1993 a capital campaign was launched under the guidance of Janet Stewart and Betty Ann Widdrington and in 1994, the purchase of Big Sister House was unveiled. This was a huge accomplishment for the agency and helped to form the positive programs along with the environment in which to conduct them.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area: On February 1, 2009 Big Brothers of London and Big Sisters of London followed the success of other agencies across Canada and unified as Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area. Creating healthy communities through collaboration has been a heightened priority in London and area; therefore it was a wise and strategically-sound decision to integrate the services of both organizations to achieve greater benefits for the young people and families across London and Middlesex County.

“The unification of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of London is a big step forward for our community, together we will be able to further our shared vision of expanding and enhancing the Mentoring programs that have such a positive effect on children in the community.”

Agreeing that providing children and youth with quality mentoring programs will help to build caring, creative, responsible adults tomorrow, the unification committee stated;

“Together we are looking forward to using our collective expertise and resources more effectively and efficiently to achieve a strengthened community.”

 

With both agencies planning for future growth, the time was right for this proactive change. Through the continued support of the London and surrounding communities, and as a United Way agency, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area began the journey to provide excellent mentoring services to more young people and families throughout our communities.

VISION

Provide quality mentoring programs to every young person in need.

MISSION

We provide quality mentoring relationships to young people in need, helping them reach their potential.

ISSUE

Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives.

IMPACT

Facing prolonged adversity creates toxic stress in the brain that can negatively impact development.

SOLUTION

With the support of a mentor, these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth can reach their full potential.

Our Solution

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.