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We believe in the value and values of mentoring.”

About Us

As Canada’s leading child and youth mentoring charity, Big Brothers Big Sisters facilitates life-changing relationships that inspire and empower children and youth to reach their potential, both as individuals and citizens.


Our History in Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln

Until January 1970, referrals from agencies for the western part of what was then Lincoln County were accepted by the St. Catharines Big Brother Association. Because of a heavy caseload within that community, no positive effort was madeto reach boys in the Lincoln area other than informally waiting for referrals.

The Grimsby and District Big Brother Association was officially formed January 1, 1970, and affiliation with Big Brothers of Canada was made. At this time, fourteen assignments of Big and Little Brothers were transferred to the Grimsby Association from the St. Catharines office. We were incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario in June 1971.

It was decided that emphasis would be placed on the Grimsby-Lincoln area, with the hope of expanding service within a short time to Vineland, Smithville, and their surrounding territories. As Board representation became somewhat more geographically representative, this hope was gradually realized and the agency served boys from Grimsby to Jordan and from Lake Ontario to Wellandport and Caistor Centre. The number of boys assigned to Big Brothers grew quickly and by January 1971, twenty-four were assigned. This seemed to be a plateau and no appreciable growth statistically was noted in the next year. Steady growth took place in 1972 and 1973, however, to the point where in December 1973, there were thirty-seven boys being served. We were extremely hampered because of our large caseload and the fact that we only had the use of a qualified caseworker part-time. All across Canada, agencies were hiring a full-time caseworker when they had reached a plateau of twenty-five to thirty matched relationships. We had to make the choice of either hiring full-time staff or reluctantly turning away boys who could benefit from our service.

The latter was certainly not an attractive alternative, so the agency decided in 1974 and 1975 to take agency advantage of the Federal Local Initiatives Program to hire two qualified people to give momentum to the program in our area. Meanwhile, alternative sources of funding were looked at with the hope of keeping a full- time caseworker after the L.I.P. project duration terminated - January 1974 to July 1974 and January 1975 to July 1975. Part of both projects was to be an extensive public awareness campaign with the communities to make the public aware of the service we provide. This was carried out and growth was realized.

Apart from the L.I.P. project, operating capital was primarily raised by personal contacts between members of our board and communities.

1975 to 1978: In 1975 a re-evaluation of the agency was done by the board and it was decided to return to a part-time worker and withdraw from the L.I.P. Program. Under terms of the L.I.P. grant, we had to employ more staff than required and the accounting problems outweighed the benefits, thus in July 1975 a part-time worker was employed, whose responsibility was the on-going caseload, working 10 to 15 hours a week.

In 1978 a committee within the board was formed to study the feasibility of expanding our service to girls. Application was consequently made to Big Brothers of Canada and an agency evaluation was done in March 1979. Following this, permission was granted and after the mandate and by-laws were revised to incorporate this service based on the mandate of Big Brothers of Canada, we received our Letters Patent February 1981 to operate under the name Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Grimsby, Lincoln, West Lincoln Incorporated.

The office was located at 7B Livingston Avenue, Grimsby, in the centre of town and accessible 24 hours a day. As all staff worked on limited part-time hours, the phone was on an answering machine when there was no one in the office. We banked at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Grimsby and our auditors were Durward Jones Barkwell and Company, located at Christie Street, Grimsby. Due to a successful Trillium application we were able to hire a part-time caseworker in December 1992.

1994 to 1998: The Agency has been very stable over the past twenty-eight years with little staff turnover. As of 1998, there were four part time staff working a total of forty-eight hours. Agency funding was provided by Bowl for Kids Sake, annual Appeal Spiels (since 1990) and donations. In 1996, a Trillium grant provided the opportunity to start the BIG/bunch program for the children on the waiting list. This was important to us because the number of Big Brother applications had dramatically declined over the past number of years and we had many little boys waiting. Big Sister applications remained fairly stable. In 1997, we applied for a Trillium grant to begin an In-school Mentoring program. This grant was received and we started the project in 1998.

In summary, the biggest challenges at this time facing the Agency are the recruitment of Big Brothers and the continuous fundraising required to maintain the Agency.

1999 to 2007: In 1999 Dianne Moxness (Executive Director) announced her retirement. The Board of Directors launched a team to recruit a new Executive Director. In May of 2000 Lynn Clancy-Leenaars was hired to fill the vacancy on a part-time basis. The Board of Directors was down to only 5 members, the agency caseload reached 85 and the number of boys, in particular, on the waitlist was at 36. The need for Volunteers continued to grow, and the waitlist for volunteers was getting longer. In 2002 the in-school mentor position was combined with the one-to-one Caseworker, which made this position full-time (32 hrs). This made the recruitment of a full-time caseworker more marketable. At that time Brenda Falconer-Baughman was hired (2002). Brenda worked hard on recruiting volunteers while addressing the waitlist. Brenda's position became more vital with BBBSC National Standards put into place. The First Woman President ever was nominated in 2003 (Valerie Wills). This was a busy year for BBBS, as we were undergoing an audit. The outcomes of this review indicated that the agency needed to expand their headquarters. They needed privacy to conduct meetings and interviews with families and volunteers. The review also indicated that the Executive Directors position should increase to 32 hours. As the Board of Directors became stronger a decision was made in 2004 to move the offices from 7b Livingston over to 18 Ontario Street, Grimsby, Ontario, L3M 4G3. A motion was passed and the office was officially operating at this location in June of 2004. The wait list continued to grow and the work load became too much for one caseworker. In 2006 The Board of Directors approved the hiring of a second caseworker to address the waitlist and to increase and market the In- School Mentoring Program. To date there are 2 caseworkers employed 32 hours a week each.

The Agency continues to grow and develop. Currently the Board has 12 members, the waitlist for boys is now at 18, and the total caseload is at 57 with 22 of them being the In- School Mentor program . A few of our goals are to develop a long term Strategic Plan and to continue working towards sustaining the organization.

2008/2009: The Board of Directors and Staff spent a few evenings with Bill Lane and Diana Lane from Right Lane Strategies to develop a Strategic Plan. The plan is to help focus and direct the agency for the next 5 years. From the plan a very aggressive goal was determined “To match 100% of children identified as needing a Mentor by 2013”, and an outline of the Strategic Thrust were developed to help the agency meet their goal by 2013. It was with deep sadness that Larry Lupish, a member of our board passed away in March of 2009. This years 20th Anniversary of the Appeal Spiel will be in honour of Larry. At our Annual Meeting Marc Seguin was voted in on a two year term as the new President. Doug Neilsen remained on the Board as Past President with Justin Cruse taking the position as Vice President. 2009 we welcomed our first annual Boston Pizza Walk Run for Kids sake. Which was held September 27 2009.

History 2009 2012

We celebrated our 40th Anniversary serving Grimsby Lincoln & West Lincoln, Think of all the lives that have been impacted by Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

We continue to be challenged with new Big's; Volunteers as we have consistently had between 20 and 30 kids on the wait list.

As well $ and cents realities with fluctuations in fundraising are a continued fact of life and our organizations greatest challenge.

We see stability in our "Traditional Mentor Program", growth in "In School Mentoring Program" and the addition of "Go Girls. " We currently serve over 200 Little's.

Staff: Lynn Clancy tendered her resignation in April 2011 after 11 years of service to our organization. Lynn was a very positive contributor to the growth of our organization over those 11 years.

A new Executive Director Lisa Pare joined our organization in August 2011 and is quickly becoming the new face of Big Brothers and Big Sisters in the community. We are fortunate to have someone with Lisa's qualifications to lead the organization.

Karen Thomson has continued her role as caseworker for Traditional matches and been greatly involved in leading on the Activities committee.

Brenda Falconer Baughman is very busy keeping up to growth in "In School Mentoring and Go Girls". Brenda Has the honor of driving the kid's in our organization to be recognized annually with CIBC scholarships, I believe the number is 10 and counting. Quite impressive.

Mary Champ our office manager continues to be involved in all facets of our organization. Her energy and experience in everything from office mgmt, fundraising and bookkeeping make her a critical key contributor and go to person.

Pauline Wilts has been a great addition to the staff as fund developer, first in writing the application for the grant that allows us to have her on staff and for her tireless work and organization of the School bowl that continues to grow and become more important to us every year.

After many years of service to our organization Irene Koudys our Board Secretary stepped down. Irene continues to be involved as a Mentor and participates in most all our events. Val Wills former board President and HUGE supporter stepped down and continues to be a Great support to us at so many events.

Kimberly MacPherson joined as our new secretary and has done an outstanding job on minutes as well as offering a critical parent perspective in board discussion.

Tina Sartor-Fry and Lynn Fee have joined the board and offered new energy and ideas to our board. Other board members include Julie Dixon incoming President, Doug Neilsen Past President, Jim Rowaan, Charlie Robinson, Jim VanRoon Treasurer and Justin Cruse current Vice President.

Thanks to all the volunteers, board members and staff for their continued support and passion.

Other key accomplishments.

  • Trillium Grant in 2010
  • Introduction of Go Girls
  • Regional Build for Kid's Sake
  • Have applied for United Way funding
  • Re-confirmed accreditation
  • Office Facelift
  • Continued success in CIBC Scholarships.
Our Next Event

Lace up for our most important fundraiser of the year... Bowl for Kids Sake. Have fun and raise money for us!

Find out how