By Tristan Marks
Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBS) of North and West Niagara have had to adapt to the new world created by COVID-19.
While still committed to offering their famous one-on-one mentorships for local youth, they have had to make change. Part of that has been the decision to shift their mentoring and school-based programs online.
“COVID has posed challenges for the community as a whole, but the impact for the children we serve is great,” said BBBS supervisor of programs and services Ashely Sinclair.
“When schools closed in spring, our team was able to quickly shift both our one-on-one Community-Based program and one-on-one In School Mentoring program virtual. This saw matched children having valuable access to mentors virtually during some of the most isolating and difficult times of the COVID pandemic. Our community-based matches got incredibly creative and engaged in paint nights, spa days, virtual tours, scavenger hunts, and bake-offs- all virtually!”
Additionally, the organization has worked with schools to keep pairs of mentors and mentees in contact while keeping the school environment safe. These school-based matches have kept in regular contact via phone calls, texting and emails since the new school year began.
“While we are still unsure what the Fall will bring, we know that we are up for the challenge. We remain committed to reaching the children in need – whether it be strictly virtual, in-person- when they can be carried out safely- or a combination of both as we work with the ebbs and flows of the pandemic,” said Sinclair.
To help raise funds during this difficult time, BBBS has launched an online 50/50 raffle. The contest opened on September 16 and the jackpot is already at $13,000 at the time of print and growing.
Entrants can by 200 tickets for $40 online by visiting bigbrothersbigsistersraffle.5050central.com. All of the proceeds will be donated to BBBS to support their programming.
Enter before Oct. 2 for a chance at an early bird prize of $500.