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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

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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

Ted Rogers Community Grants

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 Announces Critical Shortage of Big Brothers in Surrey

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.

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