Big Brothers Big Sisters has been around for 106 years but is still moving with the times.
The Langley chapter joined with chapters across the country to launch its rebrand and issue a call to action to be part of the organization that mentors young people.
BBBS Langley board members, staff and community supporters gathered to see the chapter flag raised at Langley City hall on Wednesday morning to mark Big Brothers Big Sisters Month (September).
“At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley, our core service of creating life-changing relationships stays the same,” said Roslyn Henderson, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley. “We believe that mentoring is essential to igniting the potential within young people and that communities are stronger where Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies are present. Our mentors are everyday advocates whose simple acts make a big impact. In the Langley community, over 50 children and youth are currently waiting for a mentor.”
The local chapter runs mentorship programs that match an adult with a child of the same gender as well as a school mentoring program that allows adults or teens to role models for younger children in a school setting. There is also Go Girls!, an eight-week group program for ages eight to 14 to learn about physical activity, balanced eating, and self-esteem. For the boys, there’s Game on to teach about healthy lifestyles (healthy eating, communication, and emotional health). The Explorations program allows children to try out some new areas, such as drawing/sketching, drama, baking, mixed media art, science, etc. Mentors from the Langley community provide a safe and fun atmosphere to assist a group of children in building their skills in their chosen Explorations topic through interactive learning and demonstrations.
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While the stated goal of BBBS is to improve the lives of children through various means, the program knows that the mentors are also impacted.
“You’re really essentially changing two lives,” Henderson said.
The national rebranding features a new logo. The logo’s three lines showcase the three players who help a young person forge a new path forward: the family, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the volunteer mentor (the “Big”). The new look and brand reflect months of research and consultation with over 3,500 volunteer mentors, young people (“Littles”), parents and guardians, mentoring leaders, and members of the general public across the nation.
“I really, really encourage you, if you have a chance to be a mentor as a Big Brother or Big Bister. It makes such a huge difference,” said City Mayor Val van den Broek.
Langley MLA Mary Polak said in her many years in office as far back as her time on the local school board, she has known about the local chapter and has seen the “amazing things that they do.”