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Big Brothers Big Sisters

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This issue of YMM Magazine focuses on YMM giving back, and for just a few hours a couple of times a month, you can help a child in need maximize their true potential. Big Brothers Big Sisters is different from other mentoring organizations because it is the volunteers, not the employees that are placed in a mentoring match. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wood Buffalo (BBBSWB) looks for volunteers who are committed and consistent, willing to serve at least a year. “Our organization could not run its programs if it wasn’t for our Service Delivery Volunteers, which we commonly refer to as ‘BIGS’”, stated Joanne Angel, Executive Director of BBBSWB.

When we talk about how mentoring changes lives, we place the majority of our focus on the children and youth being mentored — which is exceedingly important. Mentoring has the power to change a child’s path in life, setting them up for future success. A positive role model leads by example, and demonstrates to a child the importance of giving back, pursuing education, and making good life choices.

What gets overlooked in the conversation about changing lives through mentoring is often the significant impact of the person who steps up to become a volunteer mentor. Helping to change someone else’s life for the better has a momentous positive impact on the mentor’s life, exemplifying how BBBSWB programs are win-win for both people involved.

“Our Bigs provide a service that cannot be articulated into words. The impact they make on their Littles’ lives, and in return, the impact the Littles have on them, cannot by fully explained unless you have experienced it for yourself. Think back on your own life, and note the impression different role models made in your development, weather it was a teacher or a coach. We cannot thank our Bigs enough for all the work that they do,” says Angel.

Unfortunately following the fire/evacuation in May of 2016 – our traditional matches are down over 25%.  Matches closed due to either a little or big not returning to the community, or a Big not having the capacity post fire to continue supporting their little in a meaningful way.  “The mental health of the youth in our community has been negatively impacted, and a mentor could go a long way in supporting a youth, stated Angel especially during this time of rebuilding in Fort McMurray”

BBBSWB operates with not only the volunteer time put in by our Bigs, but also by the volunteer hours dedicated by our Board of Directors, our event Committee, and event volunteers.  In 2016 volunteers have contributed over 1,000 hours to BBBSWB. Fort McMurray is a magnificent place, and the people here have hearts of gold – weather you enjoy volunteering at events, or taking your time in a one on one match. Take a look at our website for more information on how you can get involved at You can also follow us on Facebook at and Twitter. @BBBSWoodBuffalo for all the latest and greatest information from BBBSWB.


10 Reasons to become a mentor

  1. Mentoring can change YOUR life!
  2. Millions of kids need a mentor. Every kid is someone who matters.
  3. Mentoring bridges the gender gap.
  4. Time spent with a young person is an investment in our future.
  5. It’s a good feeling to know you matter and you’re having a positive impact on someone’s life!
  6. You’ll be surprised how much YOU learn!
  7. Create social change in your community one child at a time.
  8. Every young person should have someone who matters in his/her life.
  9. Spending time with a young person can bring out the kid in you!
  10. Just by being someone who matters you can change a young person’s life!