Community Connections | Citizen Engagement, Aging Population, Children And Youth
Living Standards | Work, Poverty, Early Childhood Development
Wellness | Mental Health

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area (BBBS Calgary)

Start something BIG! We impact the lives of young people and volunteers through the power of mentoring, so that every young person realizes their full potential.

Our Story

Why We Exist

When Joel was just a young kid, his older brother was killed after being violently gunned down near their family home. Afterwards, Joel and the rest of his family were living in fear for their own lives. Joel was afraid to leave the house, even to go to school, and would find any excuse to stay home. When Joel did go to school, he isolated himself and was reluctant to interact with his peers or participate in any classroom activities.

One of Joel’s teachers referred him to our School-Based Mentoring program and Joel was soon matched with Will, a positive, caring, and confident mentor. You could see positive changes in Joel almost right from the beginning of the match. His attendance record at school was still spotty, but if you looked closely, you’d see that he never skipped a day when he had planned visits with his mentor. Gradually, as Will helped Joel to overcome his fears and grow his confidence, his attendance at school improved and he would rarely miss any days. His teacher often commented on how, since being matched with Will, Joel was more outgoing, speaking to his classmates and teachers and doing better at school.

One day, Joel had to get some dental work done and the dentist said he should plan to take the day off from school to recover. However, this was a mentoring day and Joel was adamant that he did not want to miss his scheduled time with Will. He made his mother take him to school and wait until his visit with Will was over, and then she took him home.

At the end of the school year, Joel was asked what he felt he learned from Will, to which he replied, “He taught me that no matter how hard things get, never give up.”

Our Impact

What We Do

Our mentoring relationships challenge and support young people who are facing adversity, allowing them to realize they have the ability to succeed and make life-changing decisions. BBBS volunteer mentors teach by example the importance of giving back, of staying in school, and of respecting family, peers and community, serving 1700 children and youth each year.

Funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area are provided by individual donations, corporations, Canadian Progress Clubs, government grants, foundation grants and special events fundraising. We are a completely donor-supported organization. Funds are used for volunteer and family recruitment, screening, training, professional match monitoring, and ongoing support for mentoring relationships.

Our Programs

How We Do It

BBBS Calgary creates developmental relationships between volunteer mentors and children and youth facing adversity. Mentoring is an intervention proven to address social issues like lack of school engagement, social isolation, poverty, and trauma. Mentors are also a social resource, helping children and youth develop social and emotional skills and connecting them to other parts of their communities.

Through a developmental relationship with a screened and trained mentor, children and youth facing adversity gain confidence, competence, and critical thinking skills, learn to connect with a caring adult, and become more engaged with their education and future orientation. Recent advances in brain science prove that the presence of supportive adults in childhood contributes to building healthy brain architecture, a process which sets the child up for a lifetime of resilience, positive social interaction, and academic and social success.

In addition to the foundational Big Brother, Big Sister and School-Based Mentoring programs, BBBS Calgary offers specialized programs to serve our community including Teen Mentoring, Youth in Care, PRISM (for LGBTQ2S+ children and youth) and group mentoring programs. Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane and Okotoks are served by BBBS Calgary and Area.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

Start something BIG with a donation of time or money. With your support, children and youth facing adversity will realize their potential to find success, make life-changing decisions and forge friendships that will last a lifetime.

Donate – Your financial support helps us provide our programs and services in your local community.

Volunteer – Become a mentor and make a difference in the life of a young person facing adversity.