Caring Relationships are more important than ever.
These are challenging times we find ourselves in, and our team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of North & West Niagara (BBBSNWN) hopes that you and your loved ones are keeping well and staying connected through digital nearness as we practice social distancing. It’s during times like these that we must come together as a community, to support one another and, most especially, to support those who are at risk and vulnerable. At BBBSNWN, this means continuing to empower life-changing mentoring relationships for young people facing adversity, even if how we create and support those relationships looks a little different for the foreseeable future.
All of us at BBBS feel so fortunate to be part of such a caring, close-knit community; it’s been comforting and inspiring to witness the outpouring of support everyone is showing for one another right now. The level of support from you and our community is the reason we feel so well prepared to deal with this crisis. We have been monitoring the situation closely and following the recommendations of public health officials every day. As we navigate this unpredictable situation, the health and safety of the young people we serve, and the well-being of our staff, volunteers, and stakeholders, remains paramount and guides every decision we make.
In order to support efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, BBBS of North & West Niagara’s office is temporarily closed until further notice. During the closure, the following staff below will be working remotely and continue to be available via email. Please do not hesitate to reach out at any time. If you have any questions or concerns; we are here to support you in any way we can.
All calls will be monitored daily and be returned as soon as possible.
Office Phone: 905-646-3230
Please direct ALL further program and match related communications to:
Frances Lettieri, Director of Programs and Services
email@example.com Extension 22
Ashley Dunseith, Supervisor of Programs and Services
firstname.lastname@example.org Extension 25
Please direct ALL funding and event communications to:
Britnie Bazylewski, Fund Development Officer
email@example.com Extension 33
Please direct ALL media communications to:
Kaytlin Gagnon, Marketing & Communications Officer
firstname.lastname@example.org Extension 26
email@example.com Extension 23
We encourage all members of the public to stay tuned to current government recommendations and requirements during this time. This should be your first and foremost source of information and direction.
Given the situation is rapidly evolving, we will continue to keep you up to date with any changes regarding our guidelines and policies that may affect you. For updates, please check this page and follow us on social media @BBBSnwNiagara
PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
Our ‘normal’ day-to-day has been impacted, but the important work of BBBSNWN will continue as our incredible staff remain dedicated to providing the quality of service and support we are known for, albeit in a virtual way for the time being. During and after this crisis, caring, supportive relationships will be more critical than ever. The focus right now is on reaching out to all of the families and volunteers we serve to ensure they have the support they need and to discuss our ideas and suggestions for maintaining mentoring relationships. Their physical and mental well-being is our main focus and top priority.
We are also continuing to engage with the incredible individuals who have expressed an interest in volunteering with us so that we can move forward with creating even more life-changing mentoring relationships for the children and youth in our communities.
For more information on how to talk to youth about COVID-19 and its impact, visit click here.
TRADITIONAL MATCHES (BIG BROTHER, BIG SISTER)
For your own health and safety, and for the well-being of your mentee, their family, and your loved ones, we have made the decision that all mentors are to cancel all in-person mentoring visits and activities with their mentees until further notice.
This does not mean we want you to end your interaction with your mentee! In fact, your mentee needs you now, more than ever, as they cope with the stress caused by this pandemic, and the loneliness and isolation that comes along with it. Our Supervisor of Programs and Services, Ashley Dunseith Sinclair, and Director of Programs and Services, Frances Lettieri, will continue to monitor and support our Bigs, Littles and families through phone and email communication so they can continue building developmental relationships and improved social emotional learning.
While you practice social distancing, it’s time to lean into digital nearness to stay connected and continue to maintain and develop your relationships. For some FUN virtual/online activities ideas, click here. Matches may stay in contact via telephone and social media with parent oversight.
IN-SCHOOL MENTORING (ISM)
Our school based matches are temporarily suspended until further notice.
GROUP-PROGRAMS (GOGIRLS! AND GAMEON!)
Our group programs are temporarily suspended until further notice.
We thank volunteers for their time and commitment to our programming to support our vulnerable population.
PROTECT YOURSELF AND PREVENT THE SPREAD
Unfortunately, those with COVID-19 may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have the coronavirus infection because symptoms are similar to a cold or flu, and take up at 14 days to appear after exposure. The Public Health Agency of Canada says that symptoms include: high fever, cough, as well as difficulty breathing and/or pneumonia in both lungs.
We encourage all members of the public to be diligent and take the necessary projection and prevention precautions:
- Use good hygiene practices, such as frequent and thorough hand washing
- Avoid touching eyes, mouth and face with unwashed hands
- Remain in your community
- Stay connected through technology (e.g. phone, video chat)
- Practice social distancing (at least 4 ft.)
- Avoid group activities and/or crowded places
- If you have recently traveled out of the country, postpone all interactions and quarantine for 14 days
- Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill
- Contact your primary health provider via phone if you have questions or concerns about your health
INFORMATION AND HOTLINES
The best thing you can do is stay informed and follow the advice of the health authorities. For the most up to date information about the virus and how you can protect yourself, visit:
- Government of Canada
- Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
- Niagara Regional Public Health (take the self-assessment)
- Niagara Health
Family and Children’s Services (905) 937-7731
Niagara Regional Police Services (905) 688-4111
As we practice social distancing and refrain from congregating in large groups, our agency has postponed various fundraising activities. Without this crucial fundraising period, our team is working hard to find alternative solutions for funding that will allow us to continue serving the young people in our community with the mentoring support they need. If you can, please consider donating to our agency to help us continue igniting the power and potential of our young people when they need it most. Thank you.