SEPTEMBER 15, 2023: GREATER VANCOVER, B.C. – This Big Brothers Big Sisters Day will be the largest and most widespread lighting event the Lower Mainland has ever seen, on Sept. 18.
Landmarks in nearly every municipality Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver serves will glow teal in support of youth mentorship and highlight the urgent need for local volunteers. Lightings can be found in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and North Vancouver.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Day is a provincially-recognized celebration of the volunteers and mentors serving young people in local communities.
This will be the first year municipalities, other than the City of Vancouver, throughout the Lower Mainland participate in recognizing the occasion.
The new lighting landmarks include: Surrey Civic Plaza; Coquitlam lighting features at Lafarge Lake and along Pinetree Way; Port Coquitlam City Hall; Port Moody City Hall; New Westminster City Hall; North Vancouver City Hall; Burnaby City Hall and BC Parkway illuminations between Patterson and Edmonds SkyTrain stations.
In Vancouver, the Pacific Coliseum will be also be a first-time participant to light up in support of the day while Science World will shine once again after missing out in 2022 due to maintenance.
Additionally, Vancouver City Hall, BC Place, the Sails of Light at Canada Place and Burrard Street Bridge will illuminate teal in celebration.
Last year, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver volunteers served more than 700 youth through it’s free mentorship programs in Vancouver, Surrey, the Tri-Cities, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, the North Shore, Delta and White Rock. Before the pandemic, the organization served more than 1,000 children annually.
In Surrey, the non-profit continues to face a severe volunteer shortage and was forced to paused family intake in April 2021, in response to the lack of mentors. New family intake inquiries are still closed and are instead being added to the organization’s waitlist.
There are more than 30 families in the Surrey waitpool, for the Big Brothers Community Program, with many more on the waitlist to enroll their child into the program. On average, children in Surrey wait more than 2 years to be matched with a volunteer, friend and mentor.
“We’ve experienced a huge drop in total volunteers since the pandemic, but continue to see a consistent rise in demand from families in our communities wanting to enroll in our programs. There are hundreds of children who could greatly benefit from a mentor, if they had one,” Rose Higgins, Program Director at BBGV, said.
“We are all capable of building connections and community if we work together. At Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, we are here to support youth mentorship every step of the way.”
August 31, 2023: GREATER VANCOVER, B.C. – September is Big Brothers Big Sisters Month and Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) is on a mission to prove the benefits of mentorship for youth.
The local agency is launching a new campaign, called “Mentorship Equals,” to highlight the research that measurably demonstrates how children benefit from the mentorship equation their free programs offer.
“The data clearly demonstrates what we’ve seen in practice over decades of intentional relationship-building. Mentorship creates connection, inclusion and belonging for children and carries positive and reciprocal benefits in the lives of mentees and their mentors well into the future,” Rose Higgins, Program Director at BBGV, said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Month is a provincially-recognized celebration of the volunteer-mentors serving youth throughout our communities. It’s also a time when the organization shines a light on the large shortage of volunteers needed to meet the demand of families looking for a mentor.
In this science-based initiative, Big Brothers and Big Sisters Canada (BBBSC) has taken proactive action.
The findings were clear: Big Brothers Big Sisters mentees reported feeling more supported and less isolated, worried or anxious than youth outside of the program. Children enrolled in the program also reported better mental health while facing equal or greater adversities than their non-mentored peers.
Additional research from Search Institute suggest that by volunteering as a mentor, one person can have significant and profound impact on the life of a child facing adversities.
“After decades of forming hypotheses, conducting surveys, crafting and rewriting definitions, analyzing data and writing journal articles, Search Institute researchers and practitioners have arrived at a surprisingly simple conclusion: nothing—nothing—has more impact in the life of a child than positive relationships,” Peter Benson, former Search Institute president and CEO, said.
Through their free volunteer-led programs, BBGV’s mission is to empower children and youth to reach their full potential though impactful mentoring relationships in collaboration with local communities.
“Mentorship happens when we express care, provide support, challenge growth and expand possibilities for children and youth,” Higgins explained.
Before the pandemic, the organization served more than 1,000 young people in Greater Vancouver per year. In 2021 to 2022, the non-profit served 723 children due in large part to a nation-wide volunteer shortage. However, since then, there have been signs that the tide may be turning.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in volunteer applications over the last year, but even with that bump in numbers we still have a long way to go to meet the needs of our community and serve as many children as we did before the pandemic began,” Higgins said.
“While this a positive trend in the right direction, we cannot ignore the current picture. We have the largest need for volunteers in our communities ever with over 80 children ready and waiting to be matched with a mentor. In Surrey, the demand has passed a critical point. Since April of 2021, we’ve paused accepting new family applications for our Community Program until we’re able to find enough volunteers for the children already in our waitpool.”
Currently there are more than 30 youths in the Surrey waitpool with many more families on the waitlist.
The term “waitpool” is used by BBGV to describe children approved for their programs and are in the process of finding and being matched with a volunteer while “waitlist” refers to the number of families who have inquired about enrolling their child into the mentorship program, but cannot be accommodated due to the shortage of volunteers.
“We’ve experienced a huge drop in total volunteers since the pandemic, but continue to see a consistent rise in demand from families in our communities wanting to enroll in our programs. There are hundreds of children who could greatly benefit from a mentor, if they had one,” Higgins said.
“We are all capable of building connections and community if we work together. At BBGV, we are here to support youth mentorship every step of the way.”
BBGV runs mentorship programs in Vancouver, Surrey, the Tri-Cities, Richmond, Burnaby, New Westminster, the North Shore, Delta and White Rock.
The cold and rain are here to stay, so we want to take look back at the wonderful day at the Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club for our annual B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic!
It was so much fun in the sun that was made even better by how much we raised to support children and youth in our communities: $347,351!
Ninety-four golfers hit the greens for a good cause, which was all made possible by our 29 generous sponsors.
A special thank you to B2Gold Corp. for their continuous support over the last 11 years as our Title Sponsor, in our annual fundraising event at the beautiful Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club. Our Gold Sponsors included; Calibre Mining, Raymond James, Haywood Securities, Wheaton Precious Metals, BMO Capital Markets, FLSmidth, National Bank, and Langara Island Lodge. Our Media Sponsor and banquet dinner host was Global BC accompanied by their very own Mark Madryga.
We sincerely appreciate the valuable role you play in this event year after year!
But what is a good day without great food?
Well, the tournament was made extra-special by our on-course supporters and vendors; Studio Brewing; CrackOn Food Truck; Casino Royale; 2000 Cigars; and Tornado Potatoes.
They kept everyone well-fed and in high-spirits throughout the long sunny day. Golfers were treated to decadent food, specialty cocktails, lavish on-course activities and more. This year we increased on-course activities, hosted an online silent auction, and a cocktail reception – all of which was followed by a banquet dinner.
The event couldn’t have been such a BIG success without the support of 39 awesome volunteers. These amazing people supported us by running golf contests, managing registration, selling raffle tickets and so much more. Their behind-the-scenes efforts are what made this day such a fun and smooth experience for everyone.
As we emerged from the challenges of the pandemic, we’re proud to say that we served more than 750 children and youth across the Greater Vancouver. Our goal is to make children and youth feel supported and connected to their community, friends, family, and to themselves. We will continue to serve our communities through connection by matching our Littles with Bigs who, more than a mentor, are a friend.
Of course, for Big Brothers to make as many matches as we can – it takes time, effort, and support of the community. It is through community events like the B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic and the participation of sponsors and donors that help us create impactful long-lasting change.
Ways to get involved in the 2023 B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic:
Sponsor the event Benefits include media coverage, event signage, multiple forms of print material, advertisement space in our tournament yearbook that is sent to all attendees and corporate sponsors (in-print and online). As well, inclusion in our Annual Report and our Big Night of Stars award ceremony.
Treat your clients or staff to a round of golf We’ve got everything covered to give your guests the VIP treatment – all you have to do is sign them up and we’ll handle the rest. Don’t forget to reserve a spot for yourself! You won’t want to miss this!
Donate products to be showcased Have your item featured in our extensive silent auction or provide a prize for one of our on-course contests.
Support an on-course activity Join our exclusive line-up of vendors offering food, beverage, and product samples.
The opportunities to build your brand and product exposure don’t end there. Our team is happy to work with you to discuss other sponsorship and recognition opportunities that are unique to your company.
Want to give back to the community with us when you can?
If you would like volunteer with us, but you don’t have the time to be a Big, don’t worry! You can volunteer with us at one of our events. We’re always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join one of our many events throughout the year.
Join us at marathons, holiday parties, golf tournaments, and more! Volunteering with us is a great opportunity for networking, getting involved with your community, and working for a BIG cause while having a great time.
Our bi-monthly E-newsletter gets you the inside scoop into everything Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. You’ll get to read great stories about our matches, what YOU (our communities and volunteers) are doing to support youth where we live, news of past and upcoming fun events for matches and their families to attend, see some fantastic photography and much more!
A lot has happened in the past few months, and we would like to provide you with an update of where we are at as an organization and our next steps. The current COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our world and this is a very uncertain time for our local and global communities. We are an organization dedicated to supporting mentorship relationships for children and youth. We have all been facing social isolation, but it has been especially challenging for the vulnerable young people that we serve.
We have also been engaging in important reflection and discussion about the events that have highlighted anti-Black racism and the systemic and deeply rooted racism that continues to exist in our community. It is especially poignant that two such profound issues are in the public sphere so prominently at this time.
We know there is more work we need to do as an agency to create equitable and anti-racist spaces, policies, and procedures. At Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, we have a long history of focusing on inclusion and diversity at the Board level and among our staff. We recognize the need to develop actionable changes, continuous education, and long-term commitments. We are currently engaged in a wide-reaching strategic planning process, which will guide our direction for the next five years. This process will embed these actionable changes, educational initiatives and long-term commitments into the core of our organization.
OUR COMMITMENTS TO EQUITY, INCLUSION AND ANTI-RACISM
We are in support of the principles embedded in the Black Lives Matter Movement and we recognize that racial discrimination and oppression have also had a devastating effect on Indigenous peoples and others in the community. We are actively listening and further educating ourselves on how to help children and youth navigate and dismantle the systemic inequalities and realities that they face. Responsibility for this work starts internally.
There will be much more to come on this when we roll out our strategic plan, but specific deliverables will include:
– Led by our Boards of Directors and Management Team, develop an action plan to adopt anti-racism practices and move our commitments forward, in consultation with our staff and members of the communities we serve
– Learn more about racism in Canada and BC, and about Black History in our communities in an effort to undo the erasure of that history from our education curriculums and dominant discourse
– Continue this important reflection and explore our unconscious biases through access to resources and learning opportunities to advance toward practicing anti-racism across our organization
RESUMING IN-PERSON MEETINGS FOR COMMUNITY-BASED MATCHES
At the beginning of the pandemic, our matches were not able to see each other in person. Despite this challenge, our mentors were engaging virtually in order to provide much needed support and friendship during this confusing time for the mentees. It is through these relationships that children build resiliency. Hearing stories from our matches on how they are still striving to connect has been heart-warming and encouraging.
Last week, we started the process of providing information to our matches on resuming in-person visits. British Columbia is one of the leading provinces in minimizing the spread of the virus and our Provincial Health Authorities continues to lift restrictions. With the announcement of Phase 3 of the BC Restart Plan, we recognize that matches will want to resume their in-person visits (while following safety recommendations) and our agency is providing our volunteers, children, and families with information that will protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the match. This information has been approved by the BBBS National Office; please reach out to your Mentoring Coordinator if you have not reviewed the COVID-19 material/protocols. The information is also consistent with the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer.
As our ability to engage with our family, friends, colleagues, and neighbours has become increasingly challenging the past few months, we are learning how essential these connections truly are. Thank you to our volunteers, families, and partners that have supported us during this time.
OUR OFFICE AND PROGRAMS DURING THIS TIME
The staff at Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe and healthy during these times. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding while we learn to adapt and transition our mentoring programs to a virtual platform. It has been wonderful seeing Bigs and Littles continue to connect virtually during the pandemic, and we have also been excited to welcome a number of new Bigs who will be ready to be matched to their Little in the Fall.
Our Mentoring Coordinators and staff returned to our physical offices on June 22, 2020. Some staff will continue to work from home while others will work both remotely and on-site at the office. BBGV offices will remain closed to the public until restrictions related to social distancing lift. During this time, our Mentoring Coordinators and Assessors will continue to connect with you virtually or by phone.
Site-Based programs will continue to be virtual until our schools and community partner sites are ready to support in-person programs at their sites. This summer, Game On! and Mentoring with Math are being offered virtually. Our other Site-Based programs are planned to begin again in the Fall, and include: Adult In School Mentoring, Teen In School Mentoring, ROOTS, and CATCH as well as more Game On! and Mentoring with Math programs. Please connect with your Mentoring Coordinator to find out more.
CLOSURE OF THE SEA TO SKY OFFICE
We are very sad to note the previously announced closure of our offices in Squamish and Whistler where we had served the communities for over twenty-five years. Unfortunately, our funding crunch did not permit us to continue operations and we thank the staff for their years of dedicated service to BBBS Sea to Sky.
CLOTHING DONATION OPERATION CONTINUES TO BE ON-HOLD
We are working hard to resume normal clothing donation operation and thank you for your patience during this time in holding onto your donations. We hope to start up the home pick up service this summer. If you would like to be notified when we resume service, please sign up at http://www.BigClothingDonation.com
If you need to donate your clothing right away, we encourage you to drop off your donation at our Kingsway office or the following Value Village locations where partial proceeds benefit Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver:
Surrey – 6925 King George Blvd
South Coquitlam – 1301 United Boulevard
Vancouver – 1820 East Hastings
Vancouver – 6415 Victoria Drive
Richmond – 8240 Granville Ave
A BIG THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you – our supporters who have gone above and beyond for us during this pandemic.
Through hardship, comes resiliency. The pandemic has allowed us to have valuable and thoughtful discussions on the future of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver as we go through strategic planning process of what our organization will look like in the next 5 years.
The most important thing we know, is that we can’t do what we do without the important support of volunteers, families, donors, and many more.
Thank you for sticking by us so we can continue to provide valuable mentorship experiences to children and youth, especially during these challenging times. We know we will come out even stronger after this, and we can’t wait to share with you our new strategic plan.
Valerie Lambert, CPA, CA, ICD.D
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
VANCOUVER, BC – Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver made the unfortunate decision to close the Big Brothers Big Sisters Sea to Sky Corridor offices and programming, effective immediately. This closure is due to the substantial negative financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the organization.
The unforeseen pandemic resulted in a significant loss of revenue for the organization, which fell over 80% almost immediately. Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is a community-supported organization that raises funds from multiple sources in order to meet the growing needs of children and families throughout the Lower Mainland.
For the organization, primary sources of funding come from donations, events, clothing donation initiative, and government grants. Because of the pandemic, each of the funding sources would collapse in the space of mere weeks due to shift in funding priorities from granters, the cancellation of the annual Bowl for Big Brothers event, and suspension of the clothing donation operation.
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver provides one-on-one mentorship and group programs for over 1,200 children and youth each year. The organization has been serving the communities in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor from Squamish to Whistler since the early 2000’s. Since that time, the organization has worked very hard to support mentorship programs in the region. Closure of the Sea-to-Sky offices and programming means that over 155 children and families are impacted.
“We are doing our best to meet the needs of existing community matches. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the financial means to keep the Sea-to-Sky programming going at this time” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver. “We are proud to have served the communities and we hope we are able to serve families in Squamish and Whistler in the future as we re-evaluate our programs and impacts from COVID-19. We aim to still serve our core Big Brothers Big Sisters program with the support of our staff in the Vancouver office.”
There is a wide variety of reports streaming daily about the spread and reach of the COVID-19 virus and its effects on people all over the world. We are aware of these reports and are closely monitoring the situation in regards to measures that we can take. We want to assure you that, now and always, the health and safety of clients, volunteers, staff & stakeholders as the top priority.
Effectively immediately, our offices will be closed to the general public until further notice and we will provide updates as things unfold. Our staff will continue to work remotely as normal. Trainings, workshops, interviews, info sessions that take place in our offices in the next three weeks will be postponed.
Our programs at various sites will be put on hold until further notice. Staff will be in contact with all volunteers and families to assess needs. Mentors are encouraged to continue to maintain contact with their mentees through scheduled phone conversations or video calls, with parent and guardian support present. We will continue to provide our regular support to all families and stay in line with all BBBS of Canada and our agency standards. If you are a client or volunteer with any questions, our Mentoring Coordinators and Program staff can be reached by their work cell phones or their emails during work hours.
Our Scotiabank Bowl for Big Brothers events will be postponed until further notice. We are presently working with our venue partners to determine next steps and we will try to reschedule bowling events when circumstances allow. This is one of our major fundraisers and we continue to look for your support. We encourage you to continue to fundraise through bowlforbigbrothers.com
Our Clothing Donation service is suspended until further notice. We ask that you hold onto your donations until we re-establish our clothing donation operation.
As the COVID-19 situation is continuously changing, we appreciate your patience with us as we navigate this time of uncertainty, but be assured we are working closely to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
Thank you for your continued support as we work through these challenges together.
Valerie Lambert, CPA, CA, ICD.D
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
If you would like to support Big Brothers by donating or set up your own fundraiser click below.
Vancouver, BC – Golfers from across North America gathered at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club on September 23rd for the B2Gold Big Brothers Golf Classic, which raised a record $510,000 to support important mentorship programs across the Lower Mainland. Fundraising efforts were lead by title sponsor B2Gold, who doubled their contribution from previous years to $100,000 this year. B2Gold’s generosity inspired Calibre Mining Corp. to surprise Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver with a cheque for $100,000.
In this past year, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver experienced a difficult hit due to the removal of the clothing donation bins across the Lower Mainland which results in a $500,000 revenue loss to the organization annually. Both B2Gold and Calibre stepped up in generosity to support the agency in continuing the mission of mentorship for every child who needs one.
“It is always a great pleasure for me to see our guests having so much fun at our Annual Golf Tournament, and I am extremely grateful for everyone’s support towards our cause. The sense of community and camaraderie in the room was palpable and I personally felt so inspired by the support of our sponsors and guests. The event is a great success, enabling us to continue providing quality programming to our communities” says Valerie Lambert, Executive Director of Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver
Despite rainy weather, the golfers were in high spirits as they golfed the prestigious course at Shaughnessy, networked during the cocktail hour and gourmet banquet dinner, and placed their bids at the silent auction.
ABOUT BIG BROTHERS OF GREATER VANCOUVER
The Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver mentoring programs provide 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.
ABOUT B2GOLD CORP.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, B2Gold Corp. is the world’s new senior gold producer. Founded in 2007, today, B2Gold has three operating gold mines and numerous exploration and development projects in various countries including Mali, the Philippines, Namibia, Colombia, and Burkina Faso.
CALIBRE MINING CORP.
Calibre Mining is a Canadian-listed gold mining and exploration company with two 100% owned operating gold mines in Nicaragua. The Company is focused on sustainable operating performance and a disciplined approach to growth.
Spring is the perfect time to start fresh and do a complete overhaul of your wardrobe.
And if you’re all about Marie Kondo’s KonMari method for tidying up and decluttering, you’ve probably already begun. If not, don’t worry — you’re not alone.
All you have to do is ask yourself whether you’ll actually wear those pieces at the back of your wardrobe ever again. If you’ve fallen out of love with a pair of jeans, a sweater, or maybe a winter coat, that doesn’t mean that they won’t find a special place in someone else’s life.
If you’re puzzled about where to donate your pre-loved clothing, stay with us. Vancouver non-profit, Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, lets you book a free (and easy) clothing collection service, all for a fantastic cause!
Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver even gives a $200 gift card to one of their clothing donors every month, and once a year, they give away a $5,000 dream vacation to a clothing donor as part of their Sweepstakes. This gives you even more of a wonderful incentive to donate your pre-loved clothing to the organization.
So let’s take a look at the ways you’ll feel like a superhero after donating clothing to this organization.
Did you know that 85% of Canadians donate to charity, but only 7% leave a tax-deductible gift to charity in their Will? The dedicated volunteers on our Planned Giving Advisory Council are trying to help start a conversation about how anyone can leave a legacy of a life-long friendship.
In honour of Leave a Legacy Month, we’d like to thank our Planned Giving Advisory Council volunteers, and invite you to think about your legacy: