At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Inspiration. It is the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions. We all need some at some point or another.

Ours came from an unexpected source this week. Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted 100 youth in Ottawa for the Social Innovators Youth Summit 2013. The goal of the summit was to offer practical tools and skills to inspire and empower these youth to go back to their communities and lead positive social change.

As we followed their activities through Twitter, Facebook and this blog – we, in turn, were inspired.
The enthusiasm and energy with which they devoured every opportunity was motivating. The thoughtfulness of their responses to the presentations they participated in was compelling. The gratitude they showed for the opportunities presented during the event and the role models/mentors that have made a difference in their lives was refreshing.

A recent UNICEF report card on children’s well-being ranked Canada 17th out of 29 wealthy nations. Basically, as a nation, we are failing our youth in areas such as mental health, education and physical well-being.

Last week, Big Brothers Big Sisters released results from a recent survey that revealed that Canada’s teenagers are very optimistic about their future and an overwhelming number of them, 8 in ten say they are committed to giving back to the community and 91 per cent of those surveyed believe young people have much to offer to influence positive change.

However, though they feel they have a lot of positive contributions to make to their communities, many teens felt their ideas go unheard. Nearly half of teenagers (44 per cent) believe they are prevented from making a difference - simply because no one listens to them.

OK, I know what you are thinking – all teenagers think that adults don’t listen!

But maybe they’ve got a point. When you listen to the voices of the youth that participated in the Social innovators Youth Summit (You can view some of their thoughts through our You Tube channel), you can’t help but feel inspired to start something.

You don’t have to start something BIG. You can start by truly listening.

We’d like to give a BIG shout out – to all the former and current Littles who participated in the Social Innovators Youth Summit 2013.

Thanks for the inspiration!

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