Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates 100 years

Alex
Alex Di Pietro
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With Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrating its hundredth year of operations in Canada on Jan. 15, the Prince Albert office will be holding a centennial-themed Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser on March 9.

“It’s an annual fundraiser for us. We’re asking everyone to dress up as their favourite decade and we’re doing glow-bowling from 8 until 10,” event fundraising co-ordinator Allyson Wall said, noting the event will take place at the Minto Bowl and Rec Centre.

“Then we’ll have a dance where music will be played from different decades from 10 to 1,” Wall continued. “Anyone who raises over $1,000, their name will go into a draw to win an iPad.”

As well as 2013 being the centennial year for Big Brothers Big Sisters, it’s also the 40th anniversary for the Prince Albert office. Wall said a time capsule would be buried as part of the 40th anniversary celebration.

“Anyone who wants to come out and support the organization (can),” Wall said. “We ask for a minimum of $50 for people to collect in pledges. We’ll have some appetizers, dance and door prizes.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters, a non-profit organization, has grown to 125 agencies, serving 1,000 communities across Canada.

The need for mentors is high in Prince Albert. There were about 18 children on the waiting list as of Monday morning, most of whom were boys. 

The high presence of boys and need for mentors is a common theme across the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, according to Wall.

“Probably once a week, someone phones us wanting to enrol their kids in our program, so there’s a huge demand,” she said.

Criminal record, reference and child abuse checks are performed, with the volunteer also going through a child safety-training program. The children, ranging from five to 14 years old, are then matched with volunteers based on interests and hobbies.

“We can do cross-gender matches with females,” Wall said. “Our volunteers, as long as they’re over the age of 18, we’ll accept their application.”

As part of the organization’s hundredth anniversary, Big Brothers Big Sisters launched www.thebigshoutout.ca on Jan. 15. Videos have been submitted by the Prince Albert office and can be viewed on the website.

alex.dipietro@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Prince Albert

Geographic location: Canada

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