Your donations make a real difference to children in your community.
As the Executive director of the Grand Bend Community Foundation I had the opportunity to see for myself what a difference well spent grant dollars can make to some of the youth in our community.
In late 2011 we made a grant to the South Huron Big Brother Big Sisters (SHBBBS) BIGBunch Program. Amy Willhelm, the Casework Coordinator, invited me to come out a have a look at our grant dollars at work.
The BIGBunch Program was introduced by Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide service to the children on the waiting list. Unfortunately the waiting list continues to grow. BIGBunch offers a setting for children to have fun, increase their self-esteem and learn new skills within a positive environment.
My visit was on pizza and game night. It was amazing to see the cooperation and joint effort that went into the preparation of Caesar salad, and the slicing and dicing of onions, pepperoni, green peppers, pineapple and pretty much anything you can think of that would go on about 30 personal size pizzas.
Every one of the kids was involved in the prep and then the final stage of adding their choices to their pizza. I took loving care preparing my own pizza with the lots of helpful advice from the kids on what should be included as toppings. I have to say it looked great as it went in the oven.
Trying to figure out which pizza belonged where when they come out of the oven was a pretty daunting task, but everyone seemed happy with the results.
After a good mea,l it was on to the board games. Again everyone participated and worked within the the BIGBunch rules.
It was an amazing evening with a dedicated group of volunteers and some well-behaved children in a fun environment.
Thanks for inviting me Amy and a BIG thanks to all the volunteers and kids for making me feel so welcome. It is great to see our grant dollars being used so effectively for such a worthwhile cause.
South Huron Big Brothers Big Sisters
The Impact of Mentoring Programs
A Mentor can make a real and measurable difference to a child. A consistent relationship with an adult can instill in a child the notion that he/she is worthy and valued. Where this type of relationship is absent, the friendship of a volunteer with our agency provides a role model for a child who is missing the positive influence of an adult in his or her life. Simply going for a walk, a hike or working in a garden offers the child a beneficial alternative to boredom and loneliness.
Mentoring can foster resilience in children. This is the quality that allows children to overcome hardship and adversity, which can pave the way for development into healthy, productive adults.
Studies of Big Brothers and Big Sisters programs have found:
- Little Brothers and Sisters were 46% less likely to initiate drug use.
- Little Brothers and Sisters were found to be 27% less likely to hit someone.
- Little Brothers and Sisters were 52% less likely to skip a day of school and 37% less likely to skip a class at school.
- Little Brother’s and Sisters go on to graduate from high school at a rate of 20% higher than the national average.
- A disproportionately high number of former ‘Littles’ graduate from college or university compared to others in their age group.
- 78% of ‘Littles’ who came from a social assistance background no longer rely on this form of income.
- Children in the program have been found to enjoy better relationships with their peers and friends, and they feel more emotionally supported and less criticized.
- Children in the program were found to have better relationships with their parents, and tended to trust the parent more, and lie to the parent less.
The improvement of the quality of life a child through having a Mentor directly impacts the well being of the entire family, and the community as a whole. These children show fewer behavioural difficulties, higher self-esteem, and a high level of resilience.
Volunteer Opportunities to fit your time and interests – YOU can make the Difference!
You’ve probably come across many mentors in your lifetime. Parents may be the immediate mentors that come to mind, followed by other relatives, or even teachers. For some children, mentors are hard to come by. Their home life may not be stable. They may be introverted and not make friends easily. They may not have had the opportunity to experience life outside of their community or hometown. These are the children who can benefit from a helping hand.
Becoming a mentor is a rewarding experience and is easier than you might think. It doesn’t require a fancy degree, a certain economic and social background or any expertise. The only requirement is the ability to devote some time to a child or teenager who could use support.
There are currently 12 Little Brothers, 5 Little Sisters and 15 In School Mentees waiting to be matched with a Big in our community
Be a Big Brother or a Big Sister
Be a Big Brother or Big Sister and share a few hours per week, to have some fun and a Big impact on the life of a child!
Be an In School Mentor
If your time is limited, consider one hour per week through our In-School Mentoring program. A ‘Little’ time will go a long way!
Be a BIGBunch Volunteer
Volunteer with BIGBunch and share the fun! A short term commitment within a small group setting, designed for the children on our waiting list, this friendship program runs twice a month throughout the year.
Be a Little
Littles come from single and dual parent families, children in foster care placements and children living with their grandparents. Children are between the ages of 6 and 16 and are in need of a friend, role model and mentor.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Huron provides service to Bayfield, Varna, Brucefield, Kippen, St. Joseph, Zurich, Hensall, Grand Bend, Dashwood, Exeter, Crediton, Woodham, Kirkton, Shipka, Huron Park, Mount Carmel, Centralia, Whalen Corners, Parkhill, Ailsa Craig, Lucan and surrounding areas. Applications are accepted from single, dual and foster parent families for children in need of our service.
We are extremely grateful to our community volunteers and to our financial supporters. Their time, commitment, and financial aid ensure that our mentoring programs from children continue to Make a Difference!