BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS
For over 50 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has not only stayed true to their vision of “providing any child or youth in Orillia and area who needs a mentor, with one”, they delivered on this very promise during their celebratory year.
In 2016, the agency’s 50th anniversary year, the agency supported over 360 unique and personal relationships between a caring volunteer and a child or youth in need, an increase of over 100 kids from the year prior.
“Many of our young people struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives like detrimental living conditions, mental health and school issues as well as identity challenges,” said James Maxwell, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sister in Orillia. “Simply having someone who listens and encourages them, youth can transform into confident and motivated young people and, more importantly, break cycles of poverty and crime and curb the development of mental health issues. These two-way, back and forth relationships between the mentors and mentees positively impacts brain development and equips youth with the skills needed to deal with adversities and stress they face in a complicated world. It’s what the agency has focused on for years and, based on the increase request for service, what many in our community need.”
Unfortunately, with the increase in service for children and youth to be mentored through Big Brothers Big Sisters programming, the agency is running on fumes to meet the ever-growing needs.
Bowl for Kids Sake, the agency’s biggest fundraiser, is a time for everyone in the community to come along side this organization and show their support for the great work they do.
“As our supporters and the broader community knows, our agency has and will continue to do whatever we can to provide the highest quality programs and services to those young people that need it most,” says Maxwell. “At the onset, many companies and individuals are happy to commit and excited to participate in such a worthwhile event for a great cause, knowing that 100% of their support stays local. Our participants believe in supporting good causes that create strong, healthy communities for children. In order to sustain our current level of commitment to these children and youth, we are relying now more than ever for our community to get behind us with their participation and financial support.”
The “Rock n Bowl” themed event this year is creating the opportunity for up to 72 teams to participate in a fun and energy-filled event.
“This highly anticipated event is sure to provide an opportunity for participants to make a difference in our community while enjoying fun and laughter with family and friends,” says Amanda Tevelde, marketing and communications co-ordinator for the agency. With a goal to match last year’s record $40,000 raised, the money raised by the community members will support programs offered by the agency, including In-School Mentoring, Go Girls, Game On, as well as its traditional big and little matches.
Participants can support the local Big Brothers Big Sisters while rolling a fun game with co-workers, friends and neighbours. The lanes at Orillia Bowl have been reserved for community bowlers from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. during the week of April 9 to 12. The event finishes up at Coldwater Bowling Centre on April 16. For more information on Bowl for Kids Sake, to register a team, make a pledge or inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Amanda Tevelde at 705-325-3151.