Big Brothers Big Sisters PEI in need for volunteers
By Abigail Cox
September 24, 2021
“You have been my friend, that in itself is a tremendous thing…” Mary Claire Fox, Mentoring Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters, Charlottetown stands in front of one of their inspirational signs, a quote from the book Charlotte’s Web. Photo by Abigail Cox.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of PEI has been having difficulty getting Big Brother volunteers this year.
The program has been around for 46 years. It has always been a bit of a struggle for the organization to find Big Brothers, but the last couple of years it has been even more challenging than usual, said the Charlottetown Mentoring Coordinator, Mary Claire Fox.
“There seems to be a stigma attached to males volunteering with kids.”
Currently there are over 30 little brothers waiting to be matched up with a big brother on the island, and no Big Brother volunteers.
“Little brothers that come in often have to wait a lot longer than little sisters do before being matched with a big due to the shortage of volunteers.”
The organization has been advertising on the radio, newspaper, and on social media trying to spread the word.
“There are a lot of benefits of the program, not just for the little, but for the big as well,” said Fox.
“You get to know your community better, grow your leadership skills, get exposure to different perspectives, and also just the feeling of helping someone.”
John McAleer started as an in-school mentor with the program for four years. He went once a week during school hours to spend time with his match.
“It was a great experience,” he said.
McAleer is now on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters PEI.
The program has a lot of options for volunteers, whether it is doing big brother or big sister mentoring, group mentoring, teen mentoring, or in school mentoring.
“It is a great program, and there is definitely a need for it,” said McAleer.
Meanwhile, the list for Little Brothers waiting to get matched with a Big Brother continues to grow every day.