Wednesday’s reception at Queen’s Park was an amazing event. The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) contingent was led by President and CEO Bruce MacDonald, Past National Board Chair Trish Barbato, and Board Members Rob Hooper, Tom Jarmai, Suzanne Kavanagh and Ray Pearo. We had superb agency representation from Ajax-Pickering, Barrie, Brantford, Clarington, Halton, London, and Peel.
Over 150 people were in attendance, including over half of the provincial members of Parliament. The room was packed!
The program began with opening remarks by our host, Deb Matthews, MPP, who spoke passionately about our movement. She then turned the podium over to Minister Bountrogianni, Conservative Party Leader John Tory, and NDP MPP Shelley Martel, who each expressed their support of, and appreciation for, the incredible work that our agencies and volunteers do across Ontario.
Bruce then spoke on behalf of BBBSC and the 20,000 children we serve, encouraging legislators to partner with us in helping to grow mentoring programs across the province.
But as always it was our Littles who stole the show. Peel’s Little Brother Jermaine and his Big Brother Jay made the magic of friendship self-evident in all of their words and actions. And Clarington’s Little Sister Emily stole the hearts of everyone in the room simply by being herself. When her Big Sister Donna spoke about their match, the audience didn’t just hear, but felt, that their relationship brings as much joy to Donna as it does to Emily.
Alumni Committee Chair Randy Williamson, together with Nick DiGiovanni and Ian Bacque from Telus and Ben Rutherford from the Keg Spirit Foundation, then recognized MPPs for their outstanding contributions to the BBBS agency in their community: Ted Arnott, Rick Bartolucci, Gilles Bisson, Marie Bountrogianni, Jim Flaherty, Kevin Flynn, John Gerretsen, Howard Hampton, Linda Jeffrey, Peter Kormos, Jeff Leal, Dave Levac, Shelley Martel, Deb Matthews, Jennifer Mossop, Bill Murdoch, John O’Toole, Laurie Scott, Monique Smith, Jim Watson and Jim Wilson. Unfortunately, Caroline DiCocco had to leave before the presentation, and Kim Craitor was unable to attend. The others, however, were presented with a certificate of appreciation and an Alumni pin, and photos of each recipient will soon be on-line at www.bbbsc.ca.
For BBBSC, the reception was a fabulous networking opportunity. We built awareness among the province's decision-makers, and moved many to express a desire to get further involved. As with most initiatives that fall under the "Building Influence" pillar of our Strategic Plan, this event was just one step in a much longer process. But it was definitely a step in the right direction.
Thanks to MasterCard Canada, for generously sponsoring this event, and thanks especially to all of our member agencies who let us know about their relationship with local MPPs. Once again we couldn't have done it without you!
CLICK HERE FOR A FULL GALLERY OF IMAGES FROM THE EVENT