Every child needs a role model. That’s why the strong relationships children develop with the dedicated volunteers at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley are so important.
“All the emphasis is around mentoring, supporting a child, and providing a positive role model,” explains Erin Generous.
Generous is the Executive Director of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley. This non-profit organization has been a part of the Greater Duncan area for more than 40 years, and currently serves about 140 children, with 50 more on a wait list.
“Really, these relationships are about being there [for a child], building a connection and providing the opportunity to expand on and build self esteem,” she says.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley offers a variety of other programs in addition to their one-on-one mentorships. These include adult in-school mentors who support a child in the classroom, peer mentorship programs that bring Grade 10 to Grade 12 students into the elementary schools to spend one hour a week with a child during the school year, and after school groups for young adults aged 11 to 14 designed to teach healthy lifestyle habits through activities that help build self-confidence.
The benefits of Big Brothers Big Sisters programs like these throughout Canada are well-recognized. In 2014, a study by the Canadian Mental Health Association in collaboration with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada observed that kids who participate are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to believe they can succeed in school, and boys are also 2 times less likely to get into fights, engage in bullying, or lose control of their temper. These are just some of the benefits.
As anyone who is familiar with kids knows, being there for kids can also be a lot of fun.
One way Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley gives people a way to enjoy themselves while benefiting kids in the area is the annual Bowl for Kids Sake event.
“It’s a fun afternoon event,” says Generous. “It’s all about having a good time, but while raising funds to support our mentorship programs.”
“People come out to bowl with family, friends, and colleagues. Every year we have a theme. This year it was superheroes. People get really into the theme by dressing up, and there are theme related prizes too,” says Generous.
The most recent Bowl for Kids took place March 4 at Duncan Lanes, and was attended by 40 teams and 196 participants.
“It’s been building over the years, and it’s really a fantastic time. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of cheering,” says Generous, laughing.
“We recruit teams from businesses and community organizations. We’re really fortunate to have many great relationships within our communities, and that means many of our teams have been coming out for years.”
TELUS is one team that never misses a chance to knock over some bowling pins and raise funds for Cowichan area kids.
“TELUS has participated in Bowl for Kids Sake for the last five years,” explains Generous. “TELUS always has a team that comes out to bowl. They’ve also been one of our lane sponsors in the past. The support from TELUS is appreciated.”
Bowl for Kids Sake is just one of several fundraising events hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley each year. An annual WestJet Raffle ticket sale, coming up this summer, is another great way to support this organization while also entering for a chance to win two tickets to anywhere WestJet flies.
To find out more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley and the different ways you can support this great organization, visit cowichan.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca. Stay in touch with TELUS in your community at telus.com/community.