Something Something Productions’ Theatre Camp

One of the most important things we can do for children on the wait-list for a mentor is make them still feel like they’re part of the program – that they’re not alone. The time between joining our program and being matched with a mentor is called the “wait-list” and it can be a very difficult and stressful time for families.

This is why Something Something Productions, a local theatre production company based out of Niagara-on-the-Lake, decided to step-up and start a theatre camp for children on the wait-list.

“One day I was just thinking how Niagara could benefit with a theatre program that is free for children to gain self-esteem, theatre skills, build relationships, and feel like they are a part of something special with the cost of zero dollars.” said co-founder Rob Burke.

“I am good friends with Adam Maiolo and he chose BBBS for the Zelda Marathon. I felt like BBBS would be a great organization to create something special like a theatre program as well. I approached Dina Mavridis about the idea and she fell in love with it. We both came together and created the program. We also had the help of others like Stacie Primeau to make it happen.”

“We rehearsed once a week on Saturday’s from 10am to 1pm. Second year we did it on Sunday’s. We would do drama games that would allow the children to have the opportunity to build social skills, theatre skills, and to be creative without any judgement of others. Each year we put together a showcase that had songs, skits, and presentations of the games that the children worked on. One year we did it around the Holiday’s so we sang traditional Christmas songs, skits, and games as well. Each year we had about 12-15 children each year. The program ran for two years. We were able to perform out of a church on stage in Port Dalhousie. We could not believe the talent that the children had each year. We observed children who were shy from the beginning and became very outgoing.”

“The changes were so significant and huge from beginning to end. The confidence in the children grew as the weeks went by. The children were able to let themselves go and become characters. We had children who were shy when they first came in and when it came to the showcase performance, they were ready and showed their families how important the program is to them. Parents would come to us and explain how their children are so excited to each week. Each year the children bonded together and it helped their social skills and self-esteem. At times we had children who did not want to perform on stage in the showcase so Dina taught them about stage managing, props, and costumes. Some of the children wanted to be a stage manager and stage hands. Everyone was included no matter what. At the end of each year, we could see the changes in the children and how much it meant to them to be somewhere where they felt safe, a place where they belong, and a place where they could perform for their family members.”

To learn more about Something Something Productions visit https://www.somethingsomethingproductions.ca/

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Meet the faces of the wait-list.

When we talk about the wait-list, it’s often thought about as an abstract concept. Numbers don’t always tell the whole story, but the hard truth is that behind every number is a real child who is desperately in need of a mentor in their lives. As part of our Tim Hortons Bowl for Kids Sake campaign, we wanted to introduce you to a few of the children and youth who are currently on our wait-list, and what their dreams and interests are. Your dedication and commitment to helping us hit our $80,000 Bowl for Kids Sake goal will help us take kids like Eva, Justin, David, Hunter, Haileigh, Isaiah, Alina and Kieran off the wait-list and match them with a mentor who could change their lives forever.

Hover your mouse over their face to learn a bit more about each of them!

Register your team today at http://bowl4kids.ca/ to help #EndTheWait

Joe Carlomusto and The Golf Classic

Joe Carlomusto has been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Catharines, Thorold & District for over 25 years.

“My good friend, Roger Segalin, who was on the board at the time got me involved and introduced me to Peter Saracino, who was CEO at the time.”

It didn’t take long for Joe to make an immediate impact.

“I served as President of the board from 1993-1998. Some of my fondest memories are being a Big to several boys whom I felt I helped mold into very nice young men. I was able to help them interact with my 2 sons and felt it was beneficial for all involved. I learned more about what the agency did and it helped to become a better board member, as well as understand what the Bigs and Littles were going through and how much our service was needed.”

One of Joe’s earliest accomplishments was the Capital Campaign that allowed our agency to move into our current building.

“Initiating and helping with our Capital Campaign to move our location from King St to Niagara street is a fond memory as well as a very gratifying one. It was a proud moment for everyone involved.”

By far, Joe’s biggest impact and living legacy for our agency is the annual Charity Golf Classic, which just celebrated its 25th year.

“Starting our golf tournament 26 years ago is also another fond memory going from earning $3,000 in our first year to now earning $50,000 for our programs and agency. Peter Saracino, Bob Miller and myself were the 3 people who spearheaded our first tournament over 26 years ago. We have a great committee and each year we have expanded our contributors. People understand the need for our programs and we’re no longer an agency who only does one-on-one matches. All of our programming has expanded and the need for more fundraising is critical in the evolution of our agency at this time. It is critical to the continued growth and servicing of our youth and all the boys & girls on our waiting list.”

As it turns out, helping Big Brothers Big Sisters runs in the family.

“My son Joe Jr has been on the (Golf) committee for several years and is a big help to me and all of the contacts we have and we continue to expand our reach. Eric, my younger son, has played in the tournament for many years and continues to make & donate the signs for the golf course sponsor, as well as other special signage.” Says Joe.

“When they were younger, they remember to 2 littles I had, being a Big Brother and they were very supportive and welcoming when I brought them into our home and they also came on some of the outings we had planned together.” Continued Joe.

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Little Sisters with Big Dreams

Tricia and Jennifer have had the chance to live one of life’s rarest and treasured experiences – growing up as twin sisters together. Their lives have shared many parallels, not the least of which was getting to go through the Big Sisters program together.

“There were always fun things to do.  When we were matched, we always had someone we could count on to be there for us, someone to talk to and understand us. Being twins it was difficult always being compared and doing the same things.” Said the sisters.

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Tricia and Jennifer Howard with the Big Sisters.

“Our time with our big sister was special because it was our time to be apart, to have someone that was only focused on me, my special time away from my sister. When we got to go together, with my Big Sister and my twin it was like a special outing and a celebration. We absolutely loved being together, but we also loved bragging about the different things we did that were special.” Added Tricia.

Tricia and Jennifer were also both recipients of the Brock University Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara award, which had a huge impact on their lives and careers.

“It was instrumental in us achieving our goals, without it we would never have been able to achieve this goal both financially and emotionally. It gave us the ability to be able to enjoy the experience (University) without added stress of never being able to meet financial obligations. As well as the feeling of encouragement from community support. We always had someone that truly believed that we could do it which inspired us to make sure that we lived up to the vision they saw in us!”

If you grow up together, become Little Sisters together, win awards together, and go to post-secondary school together – what’s next? Working together of course!

“We are both very excited to report we both have successfully been employed with full time contract teaching jobs through the Halton Catholic School Board!”

How did their time in the Big Sisters program influence their career path?

“We love to help under privileged children and feel a special connection to those in need and feel that stems from our history, we are so thankful for the support and encouragement from Big Brothers Big Sisters through so many obstacles throughout our growing up. No matter what, we could always count on their support. They helped us to be resilient even when we faced such difficult times in our lives. They gave us a good role model; someone to look up to…someone that came from a more privileged background than we had- more money, better clothes, a strong and happy marriage. Our Big Sisters gave us hope that there were people out there that lived happy without struggle and that could be us one day. They helped give us the tools we needed to be successful, to help others, to be patient and to be kind.”

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Tricia and Jennifer Howard with Big Sister, Karen.

To this day, Tricia and Jennifer are still very close with one of their Big Sisters, Karen.

“We are still very close, her kids are my nephews and we hangout all the time just like family.” Said the sisters.

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