Burlington, ON – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) and The Keg Spirit Foundation have teamed up to recognize excellence in child and youth mentoring by inviting former Big Brothers and Big Sisters to submit inspirational stories about their relationships with their matched Little Brothers or Little Sisters.
One mentor will be named the 2009 Great Canadian Big Brother or Big Sister and will be publicized, both in media and in on-line channels, to demonstrate the power of mentoring to help children and youth in need.
During the month of April, past and current Big Brothers and Big Sisters across Canada who share their stories will also have a chance to win several $100 gift cards for use at The Keg Steakhouse & Bar. The winning entry will be awarded an expense-paid weekend getaway trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, including free airfare courtesy of WestJet (if required), accommodation and dinner.
The campaign to identify the next great Canadian "Big" is part of a broad initiative by BBBSC to reconnect with its former volunteer mentors. Called Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni, the program provides former "Bigs" with the opportunity to continue to experience many of the benefits of their involvement in mentoring children or youth.
“If you are a former or current Big Brother or Big Sister, we invite you to submit your story and celebrate your experience as a mentor,” says Monika Paquette, BBBSC’s Alumni Director. “The work of our volunteers – past and present – is critical to helping today’s children and youth in need of a mentor. By sharing their knowledge and experience, former Bigs can inspire thousands of new mentors and encourage new volunteers, who are desperately needed, to step forward.”
Across Canada, demand for youth mentoring far exceeds the number of available Big Brothers and Big Sisters. More than 10,000 children and teenagers are on waiting lists for a mentor and some wait as long as two years. The mentoring services of BBBSC have proven instrumental in reducing truancy, bullying, early school leaving, delinquency and substance abuse.
Big Brother or Big Sisters can submit their stories on-line by registering on www.bbbsalumni.ca. Each Alumni visitor who participates will also receive an official Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni lapel pin.
“Big Brother Big Sisters Alumni is a perfect fit with the mandate of The Keg Spirit Foundation, which is to recognize organizations that are committed to providing mentorship to children and youth,” says Carolyn Torhjelm, Executive Director of The Keg Spirit Foundation. “The Keg Steakhouse & Bar is proud to support this unique reconnection program, and to help BBBSC meet the rising demand for youth mentoring services in communities across Canada.”
About Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni
Launched in 2006, Big Brothers Big Sisters Alumni is dedicated to strengthening ties to past and current Big Brothers and Big Sisters and creating a powerful base of support to better serve the mentoring needs of Canadian children and youth. BBBS Alumni currently has just under 13,000 members with a target of reconnecting with 100,000 former volunteers by the organization’s centennial anniversary in 2013.
About Big Brothers Big Sister Canada
Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada is the nation’s largest youth mentoring organization, providing quality adult mentoring services for over 26,300 children, with a goal of 100,000. Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada currently has 140 agencies serving 1,000 communities, and yet more must be done, as some children still have to wait up to two years for a Big Brother or Big Sister.