Adverse childhood experiences can last a lifetime…
We make sure they don’t.
The trauma from adverse childhood experiences can last a lifetime. Without intervention they will define a lifetime.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area has championed youth health and wellbeing for over 50 years, stepping in before it’s too late so all children can reach their full potential. We do this through our mentoring programs that match children facing adversity (Littles) with a caring adult volunteer (Bigs).
Our Bigs and Littles spend time with each other on a weekly basis doing things they both enjoy. The bond they develop during their weekly visits helps the Littles build self-esteem and make more connections in the community. Most importantly, it inspires them to dream BIG.
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.