Better (and Bigger!) Together with Big Brothers Big Sisters
By Sam Madore
Right now, connection is more important than it has arguably ever been. Loneliness and social isolation can be difficult for any of us on a good day, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. How great is it that Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) continues to honour their commitment to the vital mentorship relationships they have cultivated, allowing children and youth to still feel those important connections when they matter the most?
“Kids need support now more than ever,” says Anna Rutherford, marketing and partnerships coordinator at BBBS of Colchester. “There is a real and tangible need for kids to have the stability, positivity and reassurance that a developmental relationship with a mentor provides. We look at adverse childhood experiences to assess the needs of kids in our program, but right now all kids are dealing with the impacts of the pandemic and isolation. We are right here to provide that support, but we need volunteers to do so.”
January is national mentoring month and there is no time like the present to volunteer to become a mentor. In fact, you likely already are one, you just haven’t filled out the paperwork yet;).
“Mentoring relationships are everywhere,” says Rutherford. “What we can do (at BBBS) is bring out the skills you already have as a mentor (in families, communities, workplaces…) and apply them to a match with a child who needs what you have to offer, and provide support and guidance through the whole experience.”
There are countless examples of when mentorship matches have had a positive impact on both the “Big” and the “Little”. One example of a new match that began during the pandemic was between big sister Kiirsti and little sister Missa. Their relationship started online via Zoom and has since moved to safe, in-person meetings. Despite the challenges that can exist when trying to make an initial connection through a computer screen and text messaging, their relationship has truly blossomed.
Having only just moved to the east coast earlier this year, Kiirsti has viewed having a Little as a great way to make important connections and explore the area. “My favourite thing about being a Big is that I get to hang out with Missa, who enjoys a lot of the same things,” she says. “It’s a great excuse to do fun things like making crafts and going to the park.”
To find out all about becoming “bigger together” and signing up as a mentor through BBBS of Colchester, visit https://colchester.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/. Whether you are supporting their “Big Bucks” program or taking on the role of a mentor yourself, you will be helping a child in your community. Every year BBBS of Colchester provides service to more than 300 local children and youth through their mentoring programs at no cost to the families or volunteers.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are better when we work together. When we find ways to reach out, connect and help one another, our community and all of the people in it can have a better chance of thriving.