The first ever Friends of CFCR interview is Big Brothers Big Sisters Saskatoon, and we're so happy to highlight this fantastic organization!
Big Brothers Big Sisters Saskatoon is a mentorship program that has been serving youth in our community for fifty years. Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives, and Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentorship programs so these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth can reach their full potential.
What types of programs do you offer? What’s your most successful program?
We offer individual and group mentoring relationships amongst adults and youth. Our most engaged programs are our community 1:1 matches, and In-School Mentoring program.
How have you seen your organization’s work make a difference?
Mentorship is two-way, learning and development partnership where the young person needs are placed at the centre. We have seen mentored youth go on to achieve higher academic success, positive relationships, engagement with their surroundings and job security. Various studies such as the recent SAYCW has mentorships as a protective factor for all five categories of mental health; depressive symptoms, self-harm, suicide consider, suicide plan and suicide attempt. Our organization continues to evolve to serve the youth in our community by creating additional mental health training and offering diverse programs.
What are any challenges or obstacles your organization has faced? How were they overcome?
Meeting the challenges of providing mentorship during the pandemic. Virtual sessions were offered, activity drop offs provided, and ongoing communication with our families.
What is something that you wish more people knew about your organization?
That mentorship is for everyone! We need real people, with real life experiences. The commitment is to listen and engage. Often times our mentors love that they get to learn or engage in activities they haven't done since they were kids.
How can the community help your organization reach its goals?
We are actively looking for volunteers! Right now we have a waiting list of Littles wanting to be matched with a Big Brother/ Big Sister. We challenge our community to step up for the well being and mental health of youth in our community by considering becoming a mentor.
What volunteer opportunities are there within your organization?
1:1 community matches, couples match, Big buddy, Prism, Big Steps, and In-school mentoring.
What about fundraising or donating opportunities?
Anyone can donate through the website or Canada Helps - a one-time donation or become a monthly donor to support our programs. BBBS is currently running its holiday fundraising campaign Ignite a Little Sparkle to raise $25,000.