Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Langley is starting its 50th year, and held a celebration on Saturday, Sept. 9.
Former and current board members, volunteers, families, and staff shared stories of their experiences with the non-profit.
Jacqueline Cox, former Big Sister and now marketing coordinator at BBBS, said it was a great opportunity to bring people together and reminisce on shared memories.
“Our 50th anniversary celebration [last] weekend was an opportunity to reflect on the beginning of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley agency. It provided insight into how far we have come, and understand the foundation of what will drive us forward,” Cox said.
Originally, the mentorship program exclusively began as a Big Brothers program serving youth living with single mothers. In 1992, it expanded to include Big Sisters, and by 1996 in-school mentoring was introduced starting with Douglas Park Elementary.
It further expanded in 2012 when group mentoring was added, which offers eight-week after school sessions for youth and focuses on healthy eating, exercise, and relationship building.
BBBS of Langley also just finished a second year offering six weeks of free summer programs to youth, which is funded through United Way B.C.’s Lower Mainland Region, and offers themed weeks around sports, arts, cooking, and science.
Last year, the non-profit served 446 children and youth through its programs in Langley.
“We all have one thing in common and that is we are all passionate, dedicated, and willing to do as much as we can to provide safe and meaningful relationships to the youth and children in our community,” Cox said.
Cox is still in touch with her Little Sister, who is now in her third year of university pursuing graphic design.
“She’s not the only one that’s grown, I’ve become a better person because of her. It’s not a program that’s just for a Little, there’s so many people that benefit from it like the families or guardian that they’re under,” Cox said.
To those considering volunteering to be a Big Brother or Big Sister, Cox said to “just do it.”
“It seems like a daunting process… but once you get the ball rolling, the agency is fantastic in supporting you and making sure you’re cared for. Once you get into it you’ll never regret it,” she said.
Roslyn Henderson, executive director of BBBS of Langley, said the month of September is an opportunity to celebrate the impact it has on the community.
“It celebrates what mentoring is and what it means to the communities that Big Brothers Big Sisters are serving,” she said.
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