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Big Brothers Big Sisters in Southwestern Ontario receive BIG support through OTF Grant

LONDON, ON, Sept. 28, 2023 /CNW/ - On Tuesday, Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area recognized a $537,000 Grow grant they received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF). The grant was used the last three years to support the increase of mentorship opportunities for youth in the communities of London and Area, Oxford County and St. Thomas-Elgin. This investment has resulted in over 256 new mentorship matches, supporting the personal growth and development of youth.

At Big Brothers Big Sisters believes in the potential of every kid. Yet many young people in the communities BBBS serve struggle with societal barriers and face adversities such a poverty, family instability and identity-based discrimination. These adversities can negatively impact a young person's future. In September 2020, BBBS agencies had been facing increased requests for mentors with increasing complexity. Between London and Area, Oxford and St. Thomas-Elgin there were hundreds of young people on the waitlist, and some had been waiting for years.

Over the last three years, the OTF grant has provided critical resources to meet the communities' needs. This funding supported all elements of the BBBS mentoring services including intentional recruitment of volunteers, matching of a young person with a professionally screened volunteer mentor and a dedicated professional case worker to monitor and support the mentor (Big) and mentee (Little).

"Big Brothers Big Sisters contributes so much to the lives of children and youth in our region," said Rob Flack, MPP for Elgin-Middlesex-London. "The programs and mentorship that they offer to those who are facing adversity certainly has a positive overall impact in our communities.  This support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation grant ensures that more children are able to participate in these critical programs."
-Rob Flack, MPP for Elgin?Middlesex?London

"Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area has changed the lives of countless children and youth in our community. When a young person is mentored and empowered to overcome adversity, find their potential, and dream big, it benefits our entire community. I am thrilled that with the support of the Ontario Trillium Fund, more children and youth will connect with this uniquely transformative program, and the caring volunteers who make it possible."
-Peggy Sattler, MPP for London West

"This investment by the Ontario Trillium Foundation will allow BBBS to maintain the momentum of growth it has built in its mentorship program over the last few years," said Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford. "Mentorships build relationships that benefit both parties involved."
-Ernie Hardeman, MPP for Oxford

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area:
BBBS of London and Area, Oxford Country and St. Thomas-Elgin serve young facing adversity, coming from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and experiences.  Through their programs, young people gain positive experiences in recreation, skill development, teamwork, communication, sense of belonging and confidence.

About the Ontario Trillium Foundation:
The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, and one of Canada's leading granting foundations celebrates 40 years of grant-making in Ontario and making a lasting impact in communities. Last year, OTF invested over $110M into 1,022 community projects and partnerships. Visit otf.ca to learn more.

SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area

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