Grimsby BBBS to Join our Agency in Historic Evolution

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln (BBBSGLWL) has joined forces with Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Catharines, Thorold & District (BBBSSTC) in a historic evolution for the agency. Becoming a part of BBBSSTC means that the agency will now help form a new entity, representing the largest Big Brothers Big Sisters service area in Niagara.

Board of Director Members from both agencies voted unanimously in agreement that by sharing collective resources, the children of BBBSGLWL and BBBSSTC will benefit greatly.

“This evolution of our agency represents over 2 years of careful examination of our service delivery models to achieve the most positive outcome possible.” said Justin Cruse, Board President of BBBSGLWL.

“This evolution of our agency represents over 2 years of careful examination of our service delivery models to achieve the most positive outcome possible.” said Justin Cruse, Board President of BBBSGLWL. “The needs of the children and youth we serve, and their families has always been the catalyst behind these discussions. We are confident that this will enable us the capacity to deliver quality service to more children and youth in Niagara, and expand our service delivery to more schools.” Continued Cruse.

The BBBSSTC agency’s office will now operate as the Head Office for all operations, with the BBBSGLWL office remaining open and operational as a Satellite Office. In the interim, the two agencies will operate under their current names, with eventual plans to become a newly named organization that accurately reflects the new service area.

Through shared programming, fundraising, marketing and administration, BBBSGLWL and BBBSSTC will continue to effectively and efficiently recruit and retain mentors for children.

“We’re so excited about this opportunity.” said Michelle Miller, Board President of BBBSSTC.

“We’re so excited about this opportunity.” said Michelle Miller, Board President of BBBSSTC. “Ultimately, the number one priority was how to serve more children and youth in Niagara. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln has incredible operation standards and service delivery. Now we can lend our agency’s staffing capacity to help grow those services to more families and schools, all while creating seamless borders for our volunteers. It’s a win-win.” Continued Miller.

It is anticipated that with its collective forces united, BBBSSTC and BBBSGLWL will mentor over 1,000 youth in the region by 2018’s year end.

For more information, please see the FAQ below:

Grimsby – St. Catharines FAQ

Nothing will change for families of either agency. Families of the BBBSGLWL agency will still have the same program contacts, as will families from the BBBSSTC agency. Families from the BBBSGLWL agency are now welcome to use the BBBSSTC offices, or meet with any of our staff regarding programs, events etc. They can contact Ashley Dunseith, Supervisor of Programs and Services, for more information at Ashley.dunseith@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca or 905-646-3230 ext. 25
Hours of operation at the BBBSGLWL office have changed to: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Thursday and closed Friday. Hours of operation at the St. Catharines office will remain unchanged.
This evolution of our agency represents over 2 years of careful examination of our service delivery models to achieve the most positive outcomes possible for the children and youth of Niagara. Board of Director Members from both agencies voted unanimously in agreement that by sharing collective resources, the children, volunteers and families of BBBSGLWL and BBBSSTC will benefit greatly.
Both agencies are strong and operating efficiently, but this unison will give us the capacity to deliver quality service to more children and youth in Niagara, and expand our service delivery to more schools. This is about long-term success and sustainability for both agencies.
Yes...eventually. In the interim, the two agencies will operate under their current names, with eventual plans to become a newly named organization that accurately reflects the new service area.
Our commitment to the children and youth of Niagara will not change, and has never been stronger. It is anticipated that with its collective forces united, our agency will mentor over 1,000 youth in the region by 2018’s year end.
Donors, sponsors and community partners should know that all funding dollars, grants and donations will be pooled ensuring both agencies have the financial strength and mobility to serve our region for the long-term.

NIAGARA ROWING SCHOOL & NPCA PROVIDE KIDS WITH OUTDOOR ADVENTURES AT JORDAN HARBOUR

On Saturday, September 7, ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ got their gear ready and enjoyed a day out on the water at an exclusive event held for them at Jordan Harbour Conservation Area. Niagara Rowing School and the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) hosted the event to provide opportunities for program participants to use their facilities and experience the great outdoors.

“We are truly grateful for the kindness shared by the Niagara Rowing School and NPCA. It’s fantastic when members of our community share their time and resources to extend activities for our youth,” said Michelle Miller, President of BBBS North & West Niagara. “The volunteers from the Niagara Rowing School provided a safe and fun environment to experience kayaking, canoeing, dragon boats and paddle boarding! There is nothing more special than to see confident smiles on the children’s faces after demonstrating their courage to try something new.”

The warm weather created the perfect backdrop for dozens of matches as they picked their water crafts of choice and enjoyed the natural environment of Jordan Harbour. “I’m glad I have the ability to offer water-sport activities to youth who may not have had the opportunity to try them otherwise. We had a great turnout, where many of the Littles discovered new skills and talents within themselves,” said John Murphy, Owner/Operator of the Niagara Rowing School. “Witnessing the bonds between the mentors and mentees was wonderful.”

The inaugural event took place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with many water-sport activities made available to the Bigs and Littles.The day also included a free barbecue for everyone. “I had the pleasure of growing up in Lincoln and as a child, and at an early age, my parents purchased a canoe,” added Dave Bylsma, NPCA Board Chair. “We spent many days as a family travelling up and down the 15 Mile Creek, witnessing first-hand the natural beauty of the local waterways and wildlife. Thank you to John and Rejeanne at the Niagara Rowing School & Paddlesports Centre for recognizing the importance of these precious outdoor experiences, and I congratulate Big Brothers and Big Sisters for their ongoing commitment to children and youth across Niagara. The NPCA hopes to continue to be a partner in support of this worthy cause for many years to come.”

BBBS OF CANADA NATIONAL RE-BRAND

On September 18, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) was officially reinvented and reintroduced to the world with a sweet new look. We’re doing more than ever to make BBBS all about the people who matter. 

The new mission of BBBS is to enable life-changing mentoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people. The call to action is for more people, more volunteers, and more donors to join the mentoring movement and create that spark. Volunteers and donations are needed to professionally support mentor-mentee matches across the country.

The logo’s three lines showcase the three players who help a young person forge a new path forward: the family, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the volunteer mentor (the “Big”). The new look and brand reflect months of research and consultation with over 3,500 volunteer mentors, young people (“Littles”), parents and guardians, mentoring leaders, and members of the general public from coast to coast. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada worked with Bain & Co. and Barkley on the research and brand transformation.”Mentoring is an essential service, impacting childhood brain development and creating positive cognitive, education, employment, and health outcomes,” said W. Matthew Chater, president and CEO of BBBS of Canada. “Our modernization is meant to engage a new wave of volunteers and donors and give them an opportunity to make a true difference in this world, to change two lives: their own and the life of a young person.”

Check out our new National rebrand video!

Flag Raising Event- September 18th

Thank you to the Mayor of St. Catharines, Walter Sendzik, local donor Jordan Gadula from Gadula Financial Planning and Big Sister Virginia for supporting BBBS and raising our new flag alongside our CEO, Dale Davis, and community members at the St. Catharines city hall September 18th in celebration of our National brand re-launch.  

We are thankful for all our supporters who came together as a community to recognize our organization’s improved mission and vision, and for your belief in the value and values of mentoring!

Thank you to Tim Hortons for donating coffee/timbits.

Bowl for Kids Sake Makes Goal

We reached our $100,000.00 Bowl for Kids Sake goal!

That is enough to take 100 kids who are anxiously awaiting a mentor off of our wait-lists! Thank you to everyone who participated and supported our 2019 Tim Hortons Bowl for Kids Sake campaign! This has been nothing short of an absolute team effort from the beginning, and we can’t thank you enough.

So, how did we get here?

• Our bowling teams were INCREDIBLE! Over 100 teams from across Niagara came out to bowl for kids! We had teams formed from businesses, local government, volunteers, community groups and more!

• Our donors were unbelievably generous pledging to their favourite teams and bowlers! Over $70,000.00 alone was raised from online and in-person cash pledges this year! Wow!

• Our incredible sponsors, including our title sponsor Tim Hortons. Thank you as well to: Associated Engineering, Belchoir Contracting, Bosak Wealth Management, Canadian Tire Grimsby, Credit Bureau Services Canada, CUPE Local 1287, Dynamic Funds, Event Boutique & Co., Gaston’s Auto Sales, Heelis Little & Almas, John Deere, Kerry T. Howe Engineering Limited, The Lynn Fee Team, Natixis, Our Center Fostering, Pender, Rankin, Sun Life Financial, NAPA Auto Pro Trivieri Service Centre, Tweed, CIBC Wood Gundy and Zwart Systems!

• One incredibly generous Niagara donor who saw that we were short of our goal and anonymously donated $5,146.00 to get us there! Speechless!

Bowl for Kids Sake is our favourite campaign because it truly proves what is possible when everyone rallies behind one common goal: giving children a brighter future.

Thank you again for your support, and we’ll be in touch again about next year’s campaign!

The Faces of the Wait List 2019

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 $100,000 Bowl for Kids Sake goal will help us take kids like Trent, Meriom, Destiny, Mehayla, Mehryssa, Eva, Luis and Austin off the wait-list and match them with a mentor who could change their lives forever.

Learn a little bit more about each of them below by hovering over their faces!

Help us take children and youth off the wait-list by registering for Bowl for Kids Sake at http://www.bowl4kids.ca

Lori and Sarah

Longtime match, Lori and Sarah, have been through many ups and downs together throughout their over 20 years of friendship. What started as a mentorship relationship, has grown into much more. Not only are Lori and Sarah best of friends, Lori has also become a mother figure to both Sarah and her children. This is the story of Lori and Sarah!

Levi and Jaysen

We love stories like this!

Levi, and his Little Brother, Jaysen, are going on 9 years as a match at our agency!

Jaysen’s mother says:

“Even though my son has outgrown Levi in height, his “Big Bro” is still a huge influence on Jaysen. He was a special part of Levi’s wedding and wanted to show you a wonderful picture!”

A Better Me

Sarah and Ciera have celebrated 2 years together in the Big Sisters program, and man have they covered a lot of ground! When it comes to variety in activities and visits, these two take the cake. From tie dye t-shirts to kitchen camp-outs, these two have done a lot! But, their impressive list of activities is not their coolest feature. It’s the impact that their relationship has had on each other.

For Sarah, Ciera has become a special friendship in her life. So special that even though Sarah has accepted a job over an hour away from Niagara, she and Ciera’s grandma have agreed to meet half way to make visits continue to work.

For Ciera, there is even more to it. Ciera tells others that she and Sarah are sisters. When explaining how important Sarah is to her, she recalled a game she played in french class where the teacher asks questions and you had to stand if your answer is yes. The teacher asked people to stand if they have a sister and Ciera stood up. She asked her teacher if her sister (Sarah) counts, and the teacher said yes.

Since the match began, Ciera’s grandma has found that Ciera has been “more at peace with herself.” She went on to explain that Ciera has also been taking more of a leadership role at school and has found that her teachers have commented on how much she has improved both in the classroom and with her peers. What an accomplishment!

The ripple effects that this friendship or sisterhood, rather, have had are remarkable. The impact and growth that has happened personally for Sarah and Ciera and the impact that it has in their lives as well as in their circles is simply beautiful.

Cally Wins The Ted Rogers Scholarship!

One of the Littles from our agency, Cally Kokoski, was the recipient of the Ted Rogers Scholarship in the amount of $10,000.00!

You may remember Cally from this inspiring story we shared a few months back. She is incredible.

We put together this little video to showcase what some of Cally’s closest peers and teachers think about her, and why she was deserving of this honour.
 
The goal of the scholarship is to ensure the success of future generations of Canadians by helping young leaders across the country succeed in their educational aspirations. Cally is already a young leader, and surely has an incredibly bright future ahead!
 
Congratulations, Cally!

 

Choir Nation: Tomorrow’s Voices!

One of the Littles from our agency, Julian, recently had the opportunity to be a part of an incredible new initiative in Niagara called Tomorrow’s Voices!

Tomorrow’s Voices, a choir composed of 35 kids between seven and 17 who have been recruited from Niagara groups such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Care and the DSBN Academy. Tomorrow’s Voices aims to open the doors to music and choir to all kids — regardless of social barriers.

It’s been a busy year for Tomorrow’s Voices, including sharing a stage with Serena Ryder, Dallas Smith and performing the national anthem at a Toronto Marlies game.

On Saturday, June 9th, Julian and Tomorrow’s Voices performed their first ever season finale concert, officially putting a bow on season 1 of this initiative!

Photo credit: Courtney Michaud

 

Spring Picnic 2018

Happy Monday!! Last week, BBBS celebrated our Spring Picnic event! It was a beautiful day filled with sun, fun and laughs ☀️ Thank you to our sponsors: Butler Funeral Home, Virgil Fire Department And Niagara Car Club!