Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Impact on Our Community
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South-West Durham (BBBSSWD) is this community’s leading child and youth mentoring organization that provides services across Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax and Pickering.
100% of BBBSSWD’s budget is fundraised every year, we have no annualized government or other funding. We generate funds through events, local supporters, companies, foundations, our thrift stores, and grants.
For the past three years, COVID-19 has impacted BBBSSWD in several ways. Due to government guidelines BBBSSWD adapted our programs early on in the pandemic, transitioning all community and site-based programming to virtual platforms. Virtual programs have since continued on so that children in more isolated communities can continue to participate in our programs.
Our ability to fundraise was also affected through our annual events from cancellations to low attendance, operations at our thrift stores weren’t able to keep fully at capacity and some funders have changed mandates, resulting in ineligibility for BBBSSWD.
Challenges with funding have left BBBSSWD struggling to keep up with service delivery demands ultimately resulting in an increase waitlist for services and inability to serve children and youth at-risk.
This is at a time when mentoring programs are in high-demand from families and school across Durham as the increased need for children and youth mental health supports continue to rise.
As an essential service, BBBSSWD works with families and schools in our community, connecting children with mentors, making a positive difference in the lives of vulnerable and at-risk children and youth within our
community. These life-changing relationships help young people develop skills, knowledge, and a greater connection to their community. By intentionally placing a positive adult in the life of a child facing adversity, it increases their likelihood of success.
We believe that every child should have the opportunity to reach their potential. We believe that by changing the course of a young person’s life we can in turn also be changing the course of an entire community’s future.
This includes creating safer schools and neighbourhoods through community partnership and mentoring, which leads to change on a broader, more far reaching scale such as a reduction in poverty and unemployment.