Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muskoka (BBBSM) has been making use of a $55,000 provincial grant.
Since getting the money from the Ontario Trillium Foundation last April, the organisation, which pairs children in need of mentorship with adult volunteers, reports 17 more kids now have a mentor, cutting the waitlist in half according to Fallon Miller, Executive Director.
“The level of impact we have been able to achieve despite the pandemic has largely been the result of this grant,” says Miller. “It has allowed us to regain our footing. We survived and we made it through, and we are on our way to thrive.”
Miller says 13 new mentors have been added, allowing them to meet with mentees twice as often as before and their virtual meeting system has been overhauled. The non-profit was also able to commission a study to help with its funding and social media plans, which is expected to come back at the end of the month.
The information was shared in a media briefing Friday, which also featured Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller and the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Chris Litschko.
“Giving young people programs they need to bring confidence and social networks is invaluable. Not only for the children involved but the mentors too,” says Litschko. “To everyone at [BBBSM], for the valued work you are doing during these challenging times to help young people realise their full potential: we thank you, stay safe, and congratulations, well deserved.”
Miller says that a lending library of iPads for mentors and mentees, also funded by the grant, should be up and running sometime in February. Miller adds that in-person events will hopefully come back in March or April, COVID-19 permitting, as the kids “are all itching to be back in-person.”