Today in our #GCFGrantStories series, we feature Community Grant recipient Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph (BBBSG), which received funding for its In-School Mentoring Program.
The In-School Mentoring Program pairs at-risk youth with an adult volunteer mentor as a role model and friend to help them realize their full potential. For approximately an hour each week, mentors meet with their mentees during school hours and on school grounds to engage in activities such as board games, crafts, or just hanging out and talking.
In this program, BBBSG mentees saw the following improvements:
– 99% experienced an improved sense of self-worth
– 93% sustained enhanced school engagement
– 92% had more healthy relationships with their peers
Throughout the 2022-23 school year, the organization was present in over 35 local schools across both boards, delivering this one-to-one program to at-risk youth facing adversities. Over 100 local students had their lives positively impacted via the support of a mentor in this program. Mentor feedback indicated positive results in the child’s socio-emotional competence, mental health and wellbeing, educational engagement, and peer relationships.
After the pandemic, BBBSG saw an increased number of referred youth in-care or in-receipt of child welfare services. With additional federal and provincial government investment directed towards scaling its volunteer recruitment initiatives for 2023-24, BBBSG says it is well-positioned to meet the local demand for service from the community and provide healthy support for children and youth who need it.
“D has been an amazing mentor for J during the 2022-23 school year. It has been wonderful for them to spend time together every week, and I have seen so much growth in J’s social skills and her appreciation and care for being at school since being matched. I really think D has been one of the biggest positive influences in J’s life, and J is now coming to school more regularly and with a level of excitement that is just amazing, especially on days when she knows D will be visiting her. These Big Brothers Big Sisters in-school matches are so impactful for children like J who just need that additional role model.”
– Testimonial received from a local child and youth worker/educator who supports and observes BBBS in-school programming at her location