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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Supporting Newcomer Youth with Conversation

By a newcomer youth in the Conversation Club Program at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel

As a youth and student, I have been able to learn a variety of different things from many different people. The fact that we live in a very diverse society today, it is important that we learn a little form every culture. Being new to Canada, it may be a little difficult to cope with the style of living and, in most cases, the education system; however, when clubs like ‘The Conversation Club” are created to support the youth, it becomes much easier.

As a member of this club, I have grown to appreciate many different people from many different cultures. The Conversation Club, which is held Monday afternoons, allows youths to become more open-minded about different situations and teaches them to react accordingly. It has been a very exciting experience for me, simply because I get to be the person I am. It feels less awkward to step into a room of ten people, whom you are familiar with, rather than stepping into a building of thirteen thousand total strangers.

At the Conversation Club, I am allowed to express myself and feel comfortable amongst my colleagues and get help on any issue of which I am unsure. I have learned a lot from the mentors who are always willingly to assist in any possible way. It has been great fun being a member of this club and I have been able to address the public with more confidence. I have been able to develop the common love for my fellow club members and the necessary respect for the mentors and volunteers.

I can safely say, “The Conversation Club” has done a great job in making me feel comfortable in my own skin."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflecting Back - A Celebration of 100 Years

By Bruce MacDonald, President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada and John Melluso, Chair, National Centennial Committee.

As we collectively return to work and focus on a bright and fresh 2014, we wanted to take a moment to honour the remarkable work of the Big Brothers Big Sisters movement in celebrating the Centennial.

When the Centennial Committee set out in 2011 to plan for this milestone event it was clear that one element would set our celebrations apart from many other non-profit centennials – a focus on leveraging the opportunity to bring the message of the cause to an external audience. Keeping this in mind, the Committee attempted to find a balance of activities targeted at those within the world of Big Brothers Big Sisters and design a set of initiatives for a wider audience of people yet to fully comprehend the impact of Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programs.

Well, how did we do?

Recently we sat down and reviewed the planning grid that was created in late 2011 and the movement accomplished about 75% of the activities…pretty darn good!

Internally, the biggest achievement was the mobilization of agencies to the Centennial cause. From breakfasts to parties to integrating the theme into fundraising events to ‘one time’ events, the Centennial message was loudly trumpeted. With a Centennial book, commemorative medallion, and even a song, support materials and services were created to support local activities.

Externally, the year was a public relations bonanza. In fact, the initiatives are too numerous to mention each one. Suffice to say that a combination of The Big Shout Out, the release of 2 major pieces of research, 5 market research studies, the National Youth Summit, Big Brothers Big Sisters Day and the song launch provided a steady stream of content to link important societal issues to the impact of our mentoring programs. By itself, the Big Brothers Big Sisters postage stamp spread the message with almost 1.8 million being sold. The final numbers are still being tallied, but the combination of these actions brought the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring message with well over 30 million media impressions!

So…the party is over, but let’s keep the feeling alive. As we move forward on the beginning of our second century of service, building off this year of celebration will enable the movement to accelerate its bold, innovative Strategic Planning Framework.

Thank you to everyone that contributed to a wonderful celebration – a year of broadening the understanding of impact and how this organization continues to benefit the lives of children and families.

Bruce MacDonald
President & CEO
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada


John Melluso, Chair, National Centennial Committee