As kids return to school next week, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) is struggling to find enough volunteers.
September is Big Brothers Big Sisters Month and BBGV wants you, or someone you know, to get involved in helping youth by volunteering.
“As we emerge out of the pandemic and return to in-person programing, the increase in families needing our services is outpacing our pool of volunteers. Young people are waiting to be matched, and without volunteers, the wait is even longer,” Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of BBGV, said.
The BBGV mentoring programs pairs volunteers with children and youth between the ages of seven and 17-years-old who share common interests. Volunteers spend one or more hours per week with their matches doing activities such as sports, arts and crafts or just hanging out. Programs are flexible, so anyone can get involved.
This year the organization is doubling its efforts to reach their goal to find and match more volunteers with children.
BBGV aims to serve more than 1,000 youth through free programs in Vancouver, Surrey, the Tri-Cities, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, the North Shore, Delta and White Rock. Nationally, the organization’s agencies serve more than 41,000 youth.
“We want to get ahead of the curve and make sure every child has a mentor. So, we are calling on current, former and new volunteers to help us by volunteering or spreading the word,” Lambert said.
Anyone can get involved. Our volunteers are a group of gender diverse individuals who, more than a mentor, are a friend who can support youth to reach their full potential.
Children enrolled in BBGV mentoring programs are more likely to be happier, healthier and more confident compared to their peers. They are also more likely to graduate and go on to obtain a post-secondary degree.
“Our volunteers have the power to make impactful change. Being a mentor brings so much value to the children and youth in our programs – and to our volunteers. I always hear the same message from our volunteers: ‘my mentee impacted me just as much, if not more,’” Mandy Wong, Manager, Development and Marketing at BBGV, said.
As we emerge from the pandemic, youth are looking to restore connection in their life that was lost over the past two years and families are returning to our programs. Young people are craving face-to-face interactions and BBGV aims to serve as many as we can.
In the past, children have had to wait up to three years to find a match. This is why BBGV is urging the public to rise up and become a friend and volunteer today.
To find out more about the programs you can get involved with, please visit us online at https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com/volunteer/inquire/.