Youth mentorship in Victoria just got a massive boost.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria (BBBSV) received a surprise donation of $36,000 at the 21st annual 100+ Women Who Care Victoria event Dec. 9 at the Belfry Theatre.
The more than 300-person group of ‘women who care’ meet four times a year to donate $100 per person in support of a local charity, and this year’s holiday event raised even more than usual since members brought guests, who also donated.
Out of 22 nominated charities, three were chosen at random to share their organization’s story and give a pitch convincing the fundraisers why they deserved the donation. The event-goers and their guests then took a vote and announced BBBSV the winning recipient.
BBBSV will use the donation for its Community Mentoring Program – serving the 111 children and youth currently waiting for mentors.
In a statement, Meghan Casault, BBBSV board member and volunteer, says the young people in the non-profit’s mentorship program are facing a wide range of struggles.
“The youth that BBBSV serves face many adversities and societal barriers, whether they are living in poverty, struggling with the loss of a family member, dealing with abuse or neglect, mental health issues, identity or social challenges,” she says. “The mentorship BBBSV provides has proven to help avoid the potential risks these youth face, as well as help them become well adjusted…giving them the opportunity to lead happy, successful lives.”
Kids in the program might be in foster care or come from single-parent homes. Some have mental health or learning challenges and some have experienced neglect or emotional abuse – but the majority benefit from having a mentor, according to BBBSV.
The non-profit says in 2018-2019, 62 per cent of youth in the mentorship program saw an increase in their self esteem, and 53 per cent saw an increase in their confidence.
While accepting the award, BBBSV executive director Rhonda Brown said the donation “presents an incredible opportunity” for BBBSV and the organization is overjoyed to “serve more children and youth waiting with such a generous donation.”