Big Sisters knows that mentoring is an essential service to support youth who are at risk, especially in helping mitigate the long term effects of trauma from this global pandemic which will impact their education, their daily lives and economic futures. Big Sisters currently serves over 850 youth who are managing the implications of this crisis and we want to ensure that our programs are financially sound to be able to help them navigate this changing normal. Our youth rely on their mentoring relationship to cope with stress and anxiety and in this time of social distancing this connection has been severed. Big Sisters is doing everything we can to ensure that our youth continue to have the support they need to cope with this unprecedented challenge but we need your help.
At Big Sisters we believe every connection counts and this is true now more than ever. Social Distancing further isolates at-risk youth who already face social and economic problems at home, mental health challenges and barriers to learning. Our programs are uniquely structured to help youth cope with return to normal life and manage the repercussions of the disruption to their childhood. Our one on one mentoring program provides youth with the support they need and our Pen Pal Project helps matches without access to internet stay in touch! Our Study Buddy program considers to support youth with their at home learning which is integral to them maintaining grades and practicing English for youth in a ELL home. Our Caseworkers are increasing check ins with youth and their families and providing resources for those in need to ensure they are supported throughout this challenging time. We also look to the future Post-Covid, and recognize that youth will need additional support to re-adjust to school and social connection. Our Go Girls after school program creates a community for girls to connect, learn self-care, gain confidence and have fun.
Annually, Big Sisters fundraises the majority of our operating budget to run our programs. Over 50% of our funding comes from events. With the social distancing practices imposed by the health authority for the safety of our community, these events are no longer possible in their traditional capacity. While we are working to mobilize our fundraising efforts, the loss of funding impacts our ability to provide these programs and support to youth when they need it most. Our actions to support these youth now, will increase their ability to cope with this crisis and have a lasting impact on their development into adulthood.
Thank you for helping us ignite the potential of youth!