Vancouver, BC, January 15, 2014 – With 11 boys on a waitlist and another 18 waiting to just get on the official waitlist in Surrey, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is desperate for 29 local men to volunteer as Big Brothers. In fact, the child who has been waiting the longest has been doing so since December 2012, leading Big Brothers’ staff to call the volunteer shortage a crisis.
Surrey has historically been a challenging area for the charity in terms of volunteer recruitment but the current situation is approaching the levels of the late 90’s when boys waited two years to be matched with Big Brothers. After several years during which the charity saw a small increase in Surrey volunteers, the need is once again reaching record breaking highs.
“It breaks my heart when a mom applies for a Big Brother for her son and I have to tell her he will have to wait at least a year to be matched, if ever,” explains Rebecca Farnell, a Big Brothers’ Mentoring Coordinator located in Surrey.
The reality is if a child is enrolled when he is 12+, he may not be matched at all because boys are only matched with Big Brothers until they are 14. Given most boys in Surrey wait 1 – 2 years, the likelihood of older boys being matched at all is not promising.
“It’s seeing the hope leave the mother’s eyes that really gets me,” explains Farnell. “We want to offer a positive service for these boys but we can’t do a thing if volunteers aren’t available.”
Farnell emphasizes that the charity is not looking for father figures for boys but rather a friend who can spend 2 – 4 hours each week taking part in activities both parties enjoy. Men 18+ who may be interested are encouraged to visit our website or call 604.876.2447.
About Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver helps boys aged 7 – 14 who have limited to no contact with their fathers and are, as a result, considered at-risk to not reach their full potential. Matching them with positive adult male role models, the charity sees compelling impacts on boys who develop more confidence, perform better academically and are less likely to succumb to peer pressure. One in four local children is raised without an active father.