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Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver stops accepting Surrey children for programs due to lack of volunteers

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver stops accepting Surrey children for programs due to lack of volunteers

BBGV logo

SURREY, B.C. – January is Mentoring Month, but Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) has stopped accepting new children in Surrey for their community mentoring program because of a shortage of volunteers, the organization announced on Jan. 17.

“Surrey has the largest wait pool in the agency, with 30 kids waiting for a Big Brother. The wait pool is so large that adding more kids to it is currently on hold. Essentially there are families on a waitlist to get into the wait pool for matching! The current average wait time to get a Big Brother for Surrey wait pool “Littles” is two years, which is almost double the amount of time from other cities” Navkiran Brar, manager of family engagement, said.

The term wait pool is used by BBGV to describe Little Brothers approved for the program and waiting to be matched.

BBGV is a registered charity whose mission is to empower children and youth to reach their full potential though impactful mentoring relationships. The charity aims to serve more than 1,000 youth through free programs in Surrey, Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, the North Shore, Delta and White Rock.

“It’s unfortunate. We’ve had to stop accepting new families who’d like to be paired with a Big Brother in Surrey because of the lack of volunteers applying. This is the most urgent need for mentors I’ve seen in my five years with the organization,” Mandy Wong, manager of development and marketing at BBGV, said.

In Surrey, the charity has an immediate need for at least 38 volunteers to meet the current demand throughout their free programs.

Right now, there are hundreds of youth waiting for their mentor and friend. If you’ve ever considered volunteering as a mentor, now is the time.

As one BBGV volunteer and current Big Brother, Hari, recently explained:

“[Volunteering] is a lot less scary than you think it is and it’s a lot more fun than you think it will be and you’ll end up learning a whole lot more about yourself … There’s a lot in it for you that you’ll end up finding and you’ll be surprised with what comes out at the end of it.”

Other cities in Greater Vancouver with a high need for volunteers are Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, Vancouver and North Vancouver.

The organization’s mentoring programs pair 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 fun activities.

BBGV has six programs you can get involved in; the Big Brother Community Program, In-School Mentoring, Game On!, Mentoring With Math, Roots and Teen Mentoring.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver please visit https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com or reach us at volunteer@bbgvf.com.

Big Brothers of Grater Vancouver receives $25,000 Ted Rogers Community Grant for youth leadership

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) was awarded $25,000 to support youth leadership programs as a recipient of the 2022 Ted Rogers Community Grant, Rogers Communication announced on Nov. 3.

“We’re thrilled to receive this funding. With this grant, we can directly fund even more youth mentorship programming and take one step closer to reaching our goal of matching over 1,000 children and youth with mentors in our local communities throughout Greater Vancouver,” Mandy Wong, manager of development and marketing at BBGV, said.

BBGV’s mission is to empower young people to reach their full potential through impactful mentoring relationships in collaboration with local communities in Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Richmond, New Westminster, the Tri-Cities, Burnaby, the North Shore and Vancouver.

The registered charity is part of more than 70 others across Canada to receive funds for youth programming. Ted Rogers Community Grants are awarded yearly to registered charitable organizations or non-profits in Canada that provide programming to youth ages 15 to 29 in the areas of education, entrepreneurship, digital literacy, health and sport.

“We are proud to partner with local organizations to help young Canadians reach their full potential,” Tony Staffieri, president and CEO, Rogers Communications, said. “Our youth are the future, and we need to do everything we can to give them the best start in life.”

Since 2017, Rogers has awarded hundreds of Ted Rogers Community Grants for programs that support equity-deserving youth. This year, recipient organizations will help over 50,000 youth in 250 communities across the country.

Rogers invests $5 million annually to create educational opportunities for Canadian youth through Community Grants and Ted Rogers Scholarships.  It has also contributed more than $10 million over the past decade to create access to youth sports programming through Jays Care Foundation.

For a full list of recipients across Canada, please visit here.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Month highlights the urgent need for more volunteers

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/.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver Foresees Loss of Clothing Donation Bins to Cost $500,000 Annually

VANCOUVER, BC – Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver has temporarily removed all of its 180 clothing bins across the Lower Mainland in order to re-evaluate their design and make any recommended improvements. For the organization, clothing donations, both home pick up and bin collections, account for over 50% of the funding needed to run the essential mentoring programs.

Removal of the bins means that the organization anticipates losing $500,000 annually, a significant amount and critical funding used to support the mentorship programs. Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver provides one-on-one mentorship and group programs for over 1,200 children and youth each year. The organization is mostly community funded and it is currently evaluating the situation. Over 250 children could potentially be impacted.

“We are asking for the public’s support during this critical time to continue to donate used clothing and small household items to Big Brothers,” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “We don’t want the children in our programs to lose the chance of having a mentor in their lives.”

There are several ways the public can donate to Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver:

  1. Donate used clothing and household items and book a donation pick up through phone or online by calling 604.526.2447, visit http://www.BigClothingDonation.com, or email pickup@renewcrew.com
  2. Drop off donations at the organization’s office (#102-1193 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC) or at Value Village stores
  3. Host a community clothing drive at your workplace or school, email programs@renewcrew.com
  4. Donate funds at https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com/donate-now
  5. Talk to your strata council about setting up an indoor bin in your building

For interviews and inquiries on how to support our organization:

Valerie Lambert, Executive Director

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver

valerie.lambert@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca

604.876.2447 x223

IKEA Spring Cleaning 2018

On Saturday, March 3rd, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver trucks will be at IKEA Coquitlam and IKEA Richmond for the Spring Clean Up Event! Customers are welcome to stop by with clothing donations anytime between 11-3pm! Look for the Big Brothers truck inside the parking lot.

Read more

IKEA Holiday Cleaning Event

On Saturday, December 16th, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver trucks will be at IKEA Coquitlam and IKEA Richmond for the store’s brand new Holiday clean-up event! We are expanding the Spring Cleaning event to another part of the year! Customers are welcome to stop by with clothing donations anytime between 11-3pm! Look for the Big Brothers truck inside the parking lot.

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Purple Basketball Nets Make Heartfelt Point For Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Purple Basketball Nets Make Heartfelt Point For Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver

VANCOUVER, BC — As excitement for March Madness ramps up, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is launching the Purple Net Project; an initiative that connects Big and Little Brothers through basketball.

Based on a symbolic connection between basketball hoops without nets and kids without positive role models, the campaign raises awareness for Big Brothers’ need of volunteers in Greater Vancouver. In total, 100 nets will be hung across various communities, one net for each child who is waiting for a Big Brother. Those who step up to volunteer will be given a net to hang with their new Little Brother.

“There is currently a two-year wait list of children in areas like Surrey, the Tri-Cities, and Richmond – most of whom have been waiting so long that they are at risk of never being able to get a Big Brother at all,” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director at Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “These children are in their formative years, and could really benefit from a Big Brother as they go through adolescence. The goal of the Purple Net Project is to show that the role of a Big Brother isn’t a daunting one. Doing simple activities like shooting hoops and learning to solve problems, like how to hang a net together, is all it takes. But the connections built through the program have a life-changing impact on both Big and Little Brothers alike.”

The story has been brought to life as a 30 second spot on TSN GO and YouTube Pre-Roll, and an online 60 spot on Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver’s social channels, released to coincide with the beginning of the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament.

Adults looking to make a difference can sign up to become a Big Brother and visit purplenetproject.ca. To date, 100 purple nets have been sent out across the city, and with the support of #SwishinMission will soon hang like flags as a symbol of the relationships formed through Big Brothers.

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ABOUT BIG BROTHERS OF GREATER VANCOUVER

The Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver mentoring program provides boys with a positive male role model and a friend to talk to and share the experiences of growing up with. Through regular outings, a friendship is developed between the Big and Little Brother, that is built on trust and common interests.  The result is a life-changing experience for both the mentor and the mentee. Big Brothers proudly operates across the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor, and has volunteer opportunities for all genders.

Media Inquiries and requests to interview the charity and/or a Big and Little Brother:

Kristie Yung, Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
kyung@bbgvf.com
778.807.9908

The B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic Raises $365,000 For Mentoring

Golf foursome

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THE B2GOLD BIG BROTHERS GOLF CLASSIC RAISES $365,000 FOR COMMUNITY CHILD/YOUTH MENTORING PROGRAMS

Vancouver, BC (September 30, 2016): The B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic took place on Monday, September 26th at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club, raising $365,000 for Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV)’s mentoring programs for children.

The annual tournament is organized by BBGV and made possible through the Title Sponsorship of B2Gold Corp., a Vancouver based gold producer and long-time philanthropic partner of BBGV. Over the last 20 years, B2Gold Corp. has contributed over $400,000 in support of the cause. B2Gold, the fastest growing gold producer in the world, has also doubled their investment in The B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic, and has made a commitment to continue their contribution at this level until the year 2020. B2Gold is committed to responsible mining, through meaningful and sustainable contributions to the communities where they work.

Over the years, The B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic has become one of B.C.’s top charity golf. Golfers begin the day with a delicious brunch, followed by an unforgettable day of on the greens. As they golf, participants enjoy a variety of unique food and beverage, massages and other contests and activities. After completing a round of 18, golfers are invited to relax at a cocktail reception and silent auction. Then the day wraps up with an expansive buffet dinner and prize presentations. All funds raised at the tournament support essential mentoring programs for community children and youth.

Mentoring matters because 1.2 million of Canada’s children live in poverty, and research demonstrates that Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs yield positive results in mental health, employment and civic engagement, factors that can help break the cycle of poverty.

“In our fast paced world, children need positive role models more than ever,” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “When our children are emotionally, socially and physically healthy, everyone in the community benefits. Having an additional caring adult in a child’s life can curb issues like bullying and crime, so that children can grow into more resilient, more giving, and more compassionate adults. The B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Tournament helps fund these important programs that help make our communities stronger.”

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ABOUT BIG BROTHERS OF GREATER VANCOUVER

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is a registered charity and community-based organization, that has been supporting child and youth development through essential volunteer-led mentoring programs for over 50 years. Big Brothers matches vulnerable boys and girls with male and female volunteers in a wide range of one-to-one and group mentoring programs. Big Brothers proudly operates across the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor.

 

IKEA Spring Cleaning Event

On Sunday, June 5, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver trucks will be at IKEA Coquitlam and IKEA Richmond for the store’s annual Spring Cleaning event. Customers are welcome to stop by with clothing donations anytime between 12-4pm! Look for the Big Brothers truck inside the parking lot.

Read more

Aboriginal and Inner City Youth Break Through Barriers and Become Mentors to Local Kids Facing Similar Challenges

aboriginal youth mentors

In May,  a group of local high school students completed Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) and Red Fox Healthy Living Society (RFHLS)’s Youth Leadership and In-School Mentoring Program, an innovative partnership in employment, leadership and mentorship training for Aboriginal and Inner City youth in Greater Vancouver.

The BC Ministry of Education’s latest data reports that the high school completion rate for Aboriginal students is 20% lower than the overall rate, while data from BC Stats shows that in 2012 nearly twice as many Aboriginal youth were unemployed when compared to non-Aboriginal youth. The BBGV/RFHLS joint program is focused on helping youth and children to overcome the challenges they face.

A group of Aboriginal and Inner City youth from Killarney Secondary School and Spectrum Alternative School will soon complete their first practicum in the BBGV/RFHLS school-based mentoring program, which includes leading children’s recreation programs at Champlain Heights Elementary School in South Vancouver. The group recently completed a 10-week leadership training program.

“I see a huge amount of increased confidence and potential in our youth leaders, but 95% of them face two or more barriers to success,” says Emma Sutherland, Executive Director of Red Fox Healthy Living Society. “The leadership program empowers them to break through these barriers and become successful role models for children and other youth facing similar life challenges.”

“At Big Brothers, we recognized that we needed to reach out to the Aboriginal community in a way that built trust and allowed the concept of mentoring to embody the community’s values. A partnership with Red Fox was the best way to understand the community’s needs and to tailor our programming accordingly,” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver.

The impact goes far beyond today. The skills and confidence instilled in both the youth and children help them thrive throughout their lives. A study on school-based mentoring conducted by Taylor Newberry for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada show that children who are mentored feel more valued and empowered, experience higher self-confidence and have more positive attitudes toward school.

The Youth Leadership Program was developed to empower Aboriginal and Inner City youth to become leaders and engaged members of society. The 10-week training program focuses on leadership, mentoring, and skills training, while providing youth with work experience in leading children’s recreation programs. Upon completion of the Youth Leadership training, each youth is matched with two elementary school-aged children, who they mentor for one hour each week after-school for seven to eight months in a school-based program practicum.

The Youth Leadership Program and corresponding In-School Mentoring program are funded by the Ministry of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs, Canada Post Community Foundation, TELUS and Great-West Life. For more information on how you can donate to this program and programs like these, visit bigbrothersvancouver.com or redfoxsociety.org.

 

About Red Fox Healthy Living Society

Red Fox Healthy Living Society is a registered non-profit Society and Charity that serves Aboriginal and inner-city children, youth and families. Their recreation, food and cultural programs foster healthy, active living, leadership and employment training. www.redfoxsociety.org.

About Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) is a registered charity and community-based organization, that has been supporting child and youth development through essential volunteer-led mentoring programs since 1978. https://www.bigbrothersvancouver.com

For further information or to interview a program representative, contact:
Kristie Yung, Marketing and Communications Manager
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
T: 778.654.2356
E: kyung@bbgvf.com

Sarah Coxon, Communications Manager
Red Fox Healthy Living Society
T: 604.618.5645
E: sarah.jane.coxon@gmail.com

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