Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada is celebrating its 100th birthday this year and 30 years of supporting children and youth in Williams Lake. Williams Lake executive director Lorraine Levitt has been with the Williams Lake group for 25 of those 30 years. She has seen enormous changes over time and celebrates the achievements of the organization in making a positive difference in the lives of children in our region.
By Lorraine Levitt
Looking to get your kids active and involved in the community?
This program may be for you!
Big Brothers and Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) and Big Brothers and Sisters of Williams Lake are sharing a milestone birthday.
BBBSC is turning 100 and the Williams Lake agency is celebrating its 30th year supporting children and youth in our community.
We’ve come from six files in a two-drawer filing cabinet under my stairs, to serving approximately 100 children each year in one-on-one relationships.
The research has just been released on the largest mentoring study ever in Canada. This five- year study was conducted by BBBSC in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The key findings are impressive:
• Girls with a Big Sister are two- and-a-half times more likely than girls without a mentor to be confident in their ability to be successful at school.
• Boys with a Big Brother are three times less likely than boys without a mentor to suffer peer pressure related anxiety, such as worrying about what other children think or say about them.
• Mentored boys are two times more likely to believe that school is fun and that doing well academically is important.
• Mentored boys are also two times less likely than non-mentored boys to develop negative conducts such as bullying, fighting, lying, cheating, losing their temper or expressing anger.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters is a ‘prevention’ program, as opposed to intervention. The children are mainstream kids living in a single parent environment.
Research has shown that children in single-parent homes are at a far higher risk of not performing as well in a number of areas, compared to children in a two-parent environment.
This is where a Big Brother or Big Sister can make the difference.
These volunteers don’t try to fill the role of the absent parent, but do provide support through building a relationship based on fun.
We’d like to encourage moms to enroll their daughters. Girls living with their mom are just as eligible as boys living with their mom.
It’s about extra adult support, and not based on the absent gender.
Another benefit of enrolling your child into Big Brothers and Big Sisters is the ability to apply for Jumpstart funding.
Jumpstart is the Canadian Tire Foundation to support children’s participation in sport or recreation.
Many children in our program have been fortunate to take advantage of Jumpstart funding to participate in dance, outdoor camps, swimming lessons, gymnastics, and much more.
The agency also provides monthly activities for all the children and volunteers. These activities are extremely beneficial for the caseworkers to be able to observe the children in a natural environment with their peers.
It allows them to get a good feel of the personality of the child in order to match them with an appropriate volunteer, someone they will be compatible with.
It’s also just great fun for everyone. To learn more about how you can enrol your child, or about volunteering with Big Brothers and Sisters please call: Lacey Kvist at 250-398-8391, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out www.bbswlake.com