DUNCAN, B.C. – Island Savings, a division of First West Credit Union and all three Big Brothers Big Sisters’ (BBBS) agencies on Vancouver Island gathered together to celebrate eight valuable years of partnership and to announce a significant financial milestone- $500,000 in cumulative financial support provided by Island Savings to the organizations.
Although the financial figure is significant, it is more important to consider what that support has enabled the BBBS agencies to do. Since the partnership began in 2010, the agencies have been able to match over 1,800 children to a positive caring mentor through their in-school mentoring program. The program provides youth with a role model and a friend to talk to and share the experiences of growing up within school grounds. For one hour a week, mentors meet with their mentee and engage in activities such as board games, crafts or simply hanging out on school grounds.
“The In-School mentoring program provides children and youth with early-life interventions,” says Erin Generous, Executive Director at BBBS of the Cowichan Valley. “Together with Island Savings we are investing in the bright futures of local children and youth and building a better tomorrow for our community. The support of local organizations is instrumental in our ability to increase the number of children matched with a caring and positive mentor”.
Tianay Laing, board chair at BBBS of Central Vancouver Island and Island Savings employee in Chemainus, began her mentorship journey when was introduced to her “Bigs”, Harry and Barb at the age of nine. As a result, she is now a strong advocate for the program and continues to be involved with the organization.
“My experience as a little sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters changed my life and shaped me into the person I am today” shares Laing. “Lasting relationships are built through their mentorship programs and I am a perfect example of that.”
In addition to financial support, Island Savings staff have been passionate about supporting BBBS agencies in their communities by serving as in-school mentors, board members and volunteers at BBBS events.
“We can all relate to the power of mentorship and have seen time and time again the positive role that mentors play in the lives of children,” says Randy Bertsch, President of Island Savings. “We are extremely grateful for this partnership which supports the hard-working employees and volunteers at our local BBBS agencies and the important work that they do.”
This special announcement comes during National Big Brothers Big Sisters month which serves as an opportunity to demonstrate the need for positive role models in the lives of children-at-risk through community programming. To learn more about volunteering with your local BBBS agency visit: https://cowichan.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/