This year is the 35th anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester, and the organization is looking to recruit 35 ‘bigs’ for local boys in need of a friend.
“Our anniversary coincides with Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada’s 100th anniversary, so some agencies are looking for 100 bigs,” said Michelle Misener, executive director of the local agency. “We thought 35 was the perfect number for us, and it just so happens that we have 35 ‘littles’ on our waiting list.”
With the average age of 12, some of the littles have been waiting for the past two years.
“It’s sad to say that. Two years is way too long for a child to wait for anything, and especially too long to wait for a friend.”
While the agency will be celebrating its anniversary throughout the year, the challenge is to find those 35 men to become mentors and friends to littles.
“We’ve tried to find out what the obstacle to men volunteering is, and a lot of them may think the commitment is too much, but there are other programs we offer.”
Misener said the Big Brother and Big Sister program ideally sees the matched pair meet once a week. But the sports buddies program is a six-month commitment that is every two weeks.
“Those that participate in the sports buddies program realize they can do it and they generally do continue on. It’s a great trial run and a lot of the bigs realize they enjoy it just as much as the little,” she said.
The agency also offers an in-school mentoring program, as well as a Big Couple program that pairs a couple with a little.
“Thirty-five years ago, we only offered two programs – Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Now there are many options in the community and in the schools.
“It’s been proven that kids that have a mentor do better – socially, academically, with their behaviour, attitude and their confidence,” Misener said.
“Those that can take a little bit of time can make a big difference.”
Over the course of the anniversary year, Misener said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester has four goals in mind: to celebrate their successes, thank their supporters, serve more kids and provide community awareness as to what the agency is about.
“It’s going to be a blast,” she said. “It’s going to be one big party.”
For more information on programs Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester offers, or to volunteer, call 895-4562, visit www.colchesterkids.ca, or stop by the office on Logan Street in Truro.
Other events planned for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester throughout the year:
- Bowl for Kids campaign on March 22 in Tatamagouche and March 23 in Truro: Bowl for Kids has been held locally for all 35 years.
- Men’s Night Out in April: Current Big Brothers can bring a buddy that might also make a good Big Brother.
- The Big Gala on May 2 for bigs, littles and community supporters.
- Appreciation barbecue in Tatamagouche in June.
- Summer programs for littles in both July and August.
- Open House in Truro in September.
- Ladies Night Out in October.
- Christmas party for volunteers and kids in December
*Throughout the year, branded cakes will be delivered to the top 12 community supporters with the first being delivered today to Scotiabank.