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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dufferin set for a busy summer

June 29, 2017   ·   0 Comments

Nancy Stallmach with the quilt outside Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dufferin’s office. The organization merged in 1996, and helps mentor youths in the County. Yearly, they self-fund $160’000, by raising money through annual events, like bowling and golf tournaments.

By Jasen Obermeyer

With summer vacation around the corner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dufferin, an organization that matches children with a caring adult mentor, will be hosting several events during the summer, continuing to provide mentorship for kids needing it.

The first local Big Brothers Agency started in 1972, followed by the local Big Sisters Agency in 1977. The two agencies then merged in 1996, and serve around 250 kids in Dufferin County, including Orangeville, Shelburne, Grand Valley, Alton, and Erin. The average age for children is from nine to twelve, with an average of 80 volunteers yearly.

For the summer, they are doing their annual day camp with the Orangeville Police, dubbed “Kids N’ Kops.” Kids will be given a tour of the police station, have fun, and learn about law enforcement.

The organization also plans to visit Orangeville Fire Station, where kids will be given a tour of the building, while taking part in the obstacle course the firefighters regularly practice.

Nancy Stallmach, Big Brothers Big Sisters executive director, says it is a bit quieter during the summer, as their school programs don’t run, which several kids only use, and they have had a “big influx of new Big Brothers, Big Sisters coming through.”

School programs include “In-School Mentoring,” where volunteers meet the kids at school; another is “Go Girls!” a program for preteen girls. There is also Big Bunch, a group program for children who are on the waiting list, where they get together monthly and go on various outings.

Ms. Stallmach says there are different reasons why mentors volunteer, but “a lot of it is that they want to help a child and help the community as a whole by doing that.”

Later in the summer, kids will be going to Rockwood Conservation Area, to spend a day hiking, fishing, and swimming.

On Saturday, July 8, they will host their annual Mixed 3 Pitch Baseball Tournament at Orangeville’s Rotary Park. Entry fee is $320 per team, and it starts at 9:00 a.m.

They recently hosted their 24th annual Golf for Kids Sake last Thursday (June 15), at Shelburne Golf and Country Club, and raised $12’000. It is their second biggest fundraiser, their first being Bowl for Kids Sake, held in April, which raised $46’000.

Ms. Stallmach noted how kids who grow up come back as volunteers, some mentoring their siblings. “Often the mentors will say ‘I don’t know who gets more out it. Me, or the child.’ It brings so much into their life as well.”

Asked how important this organization is, she says she has noticed kids happier, and their self-esteem rises. “The big brother, big sister can show the child a whole new path in life and give them the confidence to follow that path.”

Ms. Stallmach attributes both organizations starting over 40 years ago and being able to continue because of the community. “The community sees the value in what we do, and we have a lot of people that are very supportive of us.”

For more information on events, how to volunteer, or enroll your child, visit their website at www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/dufferin.

         

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