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.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

And here we are, turning 100.

“Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.”
Jim Fiebig

So much has happened in 100 years. The world is almost unrecognizable from the one that existed in 1913 and gave rise to Big Brothers Big Sisters in Canada. It is more connected. It moves faster. The needs of children seem to be so much more complex.

And here we are, turning 100.

How do we be both old and young at the same time? Few organizations have the reputation and respect that comes with 100 years of stellar service to children and families. In hundreds of Canadian communities, staff and volunteers have been changing the trajectories of young lives. Certainly the relevancy of the mentoring programs that are offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters is not in question. It is, however, more challenging for established institutions to make ongoing and significant change to stay in step with the times.

Perhaps the essence of mentoring doesn’t need to change all that much. As Cirque du Soleil founder, Guy Laliberte said “We didn't reinvent the circus. We repackaged it in a much more modern way.”

While being a centenarian in ‘cause’, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a young person’s movement. Across all community based programs, the average age for volunteers at the time of inquiry is 26.1 and 75.5% of all volunteers in the movement are under the age of 30. When factoring in teen mentors in school based programs, site based average age is 21.5.

The process of repackaging..developing, new meaningful programs while retaining the essence of quality mentoring.. is well underway. Big Brothers Big Sisters will continue to balance the wonderful advantages of age – experience, wisdom, knowledge – with the benefits of youth – energy, vitality, enthusiasm – to create a vibrant organization that enters its second century of service with a double scoop cone.


Bruce MacDonald
President & CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada


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