Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent makes a commitment to young girls and boys that we will be leaders in providing them with the highest quality, volunteer based mentoring programs to enhance their physical, emotional and mental health.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters operated independently in our community for approximately 30 years before we amalgamated in 2007 to become Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent. Over the years we have served thousands of children and youth in our traditional one-to-one mentoring program. Big Brothers was first to introduce the In-School Mentoring program in the early 1980s, which was an alteration to the original program that allowed their mentor to spend time with them during the school day. Our most recent innovative programs are Go Girls and Game On group mentoring, which were introduced in 2011. These programs have been our fastest growing service, serving more than 1200 youth after only 7 years.
We serve 400 children annually through multiple innovative mentoring programs:
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
A Big (18 years or older) is matched to a child and spends 2-3 hours with them once a week, after school and on weekends for a minimum of one year. The time spent with them can be anything from cooking, baking, sports, watching movies, etc. It does not have to involve spending money, but simply being creative and focusing on the development of a meaningful friendship.
Go Girls/Game On Group Programs
Go Girls is an all-girls program, and Game On is for boys only. The programs are run in elementary schools during the school day for 1.5 hours, for 7 weeks. We play fun games with them, do crafts, and talk to them about what’s important to them. The main goals are to teach them healthy lifestyle choices, and improve their self-esteem. The youth are anywhere between the ages of 12-14, and a group consists of 2 mentors and 10 youth. We provide them with a healthy snack each session, which is paid for by the agency.
Similar to the Big Brother/Big Sister program, a mentor would be matched to a child in an elementary school for 1 hour a week. They would do fun things within the school property, such as playing board games, doing crafts, playing sports, etc. The commitment for this program is generally the entire length of one school year at minimum, and the same idea is to raise a child’s confidence through relationship building.