Big Brothers Big Sisters are busy this summer working on the various summer activities that are happening with the children in our program. We are getting excited about our Kids n Kops program that we do with the New Glasgow Regional Police Services. We extend a big thank you to CIBC Wood Gundy and Northern Pulp for sponsoring this camp.
We are so appreciative of the support we get from our community as it helps to run the agency and has for over 33 years. We have been fortunate to have some successful fundraisers over the years that have helped the agency grow and serve hundreds of children. As many know, it is a challenging environment trying to be fiscally responsible. Since we receive less than five per cent of our overall budget in government funding, we are forced to host a number of fundraisers. This past year has been a very challenging one for Big Brothers Big Sisters. We were forced to close our “physical” location in Antigonish and lay off one full-time staff in both Antigonish and Pictou County and finally we lost the support of the United Way as we were forced to withdraw as we had no choice but to fundraise during their blackout period from September to December.
There is a misconception that Big Brothers Big Sisters receives copious amounts of government funding for operations. The truth is we receive provincial funding from the Department of Community Services with $10,500 for Pictou County and $21,400 for Antigonish. All money is spent in the county that it is allocated for. The only other government funding Big Brothers Big Sisters receives may be a summer student positions from the provincial and federal governments.
Although cuts have taken place we are still continuing to serve the same amount of children and are making changes in “How” they are served with a different operational model, whether it is working remotely, placing children in programs that require less support, and not having a physical office in a satellite community.
We want to the community to know and understand how much their support is appreciated and needed. Did you know in a recent study with 500 former Little Brother and Sisters it was found that over their lifetime they will earn $315,000 more in their careers than those who were not matched; 63 per cent will have post-secondary education. As well as 80 per cent will live a healthier lifestyle and 96 per cent say they are happy. The social return on investment of this study was shown to be 18:1, that means for every $1 you donate towards mentoring programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters returns $18 to society through the children they serve, not bad results.
We believe in the power of mentoring. We believe that by providing mentors that children can reach their full potential. For all of the people out there who have helped support Bowl for Kids Sake, Big Bucks 50/50 draw, Lotta Lotto, and Dinner Theatre, we are grateful and appreciate that you have chosen Big Brothers Big Sisters. We would also encourage you to be a responsible donor when making a donation to a charity, don’t be afraid to ask questions and visit Revenue http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html – there you can find any registered charity and find out how they spend their money.
We are looking forward to serving many more children in the year to come and cannot do that without your support. We were very excited this week to give out a cheque for $6,884 to the winner of our Big Bucks, Bonnie MacDonald. She registered a number, played her toonie and won big. We are also having a draw sponsored by our friends West Jet Cares for Kids. For just $5 a ticket you can win a flight for anywhere West Jet flies and a set of luggage. Are you in need of a vacation? I’m sure you are. We will be selling them at the flea market on the weekends and out of our office. Drop by and get in on this draw so that you can take that vacation that you have been thinking about.
Submitted by Big Brothers Big Sisters Pictou County