Bigs/Littles connected virtually, support needed

By Tristan Marks
NewsNow

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of North and West Niagara is still offering mentorship services during COVID-19, services which CEO Dale Davis said are now more important than ever.

To comply with regulations from various levels of government and to maintain a high standard of safety for mentors and mentees, BBBS has ported over to ‘virtual mentorship’ during this time.

Big siblings and their littles plan for virtual activities, using social media, videos calls and other platforms. All the while, case workers from BBBS stay in touch with various pairings to keep up to date with them and their situations.

Davis said things are business as usual for the most part.

“In many ways it’s the same as what we’ve always been doing, but we’ve shifted, if you can image, to an online format,” she said.

The organization is still starting new mentorships during this time, and helping kids on their wait list find matches with mentors.

These ‘virtual mentorships’ work the same as a regular one, they are purely online for the time being.

Davis said eventually mentorships will continue in person, but not before they get approval from Public Health and the nationwide BBBS Canada administration.

She said this service is especially important for the kids, who are facing increased isolation and risk of “falling through the cracks” in regards to their mental health due to the ongoing physical distancing regulations and shut-downs.

“We’re providing a vital support for mental health,” said Davis.

None of this comes free for BBBS. Case workers need to be paid, and mentorships come with costs of their own.

The organization will miss out on two major annual fundraisers which were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We desperately need the support,” said Davis.

Those interested in supporting BBBS can give money by clicking on the ‘donate now’ link found on
bbbsmentors.ca.

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