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, MLA St. James
May 2, 2013

Big Brothers Big Sisters - 100th Anniversary

We're all aware of the importance of supporting young people to help them achieve their full potential, and this year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is marking its 100th anniversary of making a positive difference in the lives of children and youth through its range of mentorship programs.

Big Brothers Big Sisters matches young people with mentors in a one-on-one or group context, both in school and outside of school. Serving as role models, mentors provide friendship, support and guidance and teach the importance of staying in school and of having respect for family, peers and community.

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters movement came to Winnipeg in 1969 and 1970, and, since then, the program has been creating life-changing relationships to help children and youth reach their full potential.

Young people who are mentored are more likely to feel confident in their abilities and to stay in school, and are less likely to bully, fight, lie or suffer anxiety due to peer pressure.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada is celebrating this milestone birthday with a public education campaign on the value of youth mentoring to our communities and to our society.

The Winnipeg branch of the movement celebrated the kickoff of the centennial in March with the RBC Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, and more events will be happening through the year to raise awareness as well as funds to support their important work.

It is crucial that we invest in our children's futures, and Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers do just this. The volunteers who donate their time mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters are reaffirming to these children that they are valued and worthwhile. In the process, they demonstrate tolerance and acceptance, an attitude that all of our young people should be encouraged to develop and one best learned by example.

I ask all members to join me in celebrating this important organization and the difference it makes in the lives of young people in Manitoba.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.