MONCTON – The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Moncton is in need of a large number of volunteers to help kids in the community.
Speaking to Global News at their annual bowling fundraiser, executive director Peter MacDonald said they have 48 boys and 17 girls on their waiting list.
“Boys actually wait over a year to a year and a half for a Big Brother,” MacDonald said. “So any men out there, we really, really need your support. Kids in your community actually need you.”
MacDonald said that while there is a waiting list for girls too, more women tend to volunteer, so there’s not as much of a need.
MacDonald said the agency serves about 300 kids a year, through three different programs. The traditional community match program currently has 140 kids matched up. It is what people usually think of, when they hear “Big Brothers” – pairing a Big Brother with a Little Brother and a Big Sister with a Little Sister on a one-to-one basis, as well as Big Couples where both act as mentors to a child.
But MacDonald, said there are also two school programs: an in-school mentoring program and an after-school program. The after-school program teaches kids between the age of 11 and 14 about healthy eating, healthy lifestyle and self-esteem, called “Go Girls” for girls and “Game On” for boys.
The bowling fundraiser, called Bowl for Kids’ Sake is expected to raise about $60,000 for the agency, which is about 35 per cent of the annual operating budget.
MacDonald said the money doesn’t just go to administrative costs, but to support matches by offering them activities.
Eight-year-old Daya Bennett and her Big Sister, Lydia Porter, have been matched together since September 2013. Daya told Global News her favourite thing about the program was her Big Sister and her favourite activity was “everything.”
“We have a lot of fun together,” Porter said, adding they often read or dance together.
Eighteen-year-old Dakota Krebs and his grandfather, Paul Forgrave, raised about $900 this year for the event. Krebs said he knew first-hand the difference having a Big Brother or Big Sister can make in a kid’s life. He had both, being matched with a Big Couple when he was a kid.
“Some kids they don’t have the opportunities of other kids,” he said. “Maybe don’t get to see the world as much.”
He said in his six years in the program, he went on fishing trips and went camping, which is not something he otherwise would have done growing up in the city.
“Oh, it helped him out tremendously,” Forgrave said. “We are just some happy to have the Big Brother, Big Sister that he’s had.”
Forgrave has been raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Moncton for more than 20 years and estimates he’s raised nearly $20,000 in that time.