Big Brothers, Big Sisters comes to Yellowknife

Big Brothers, Big Sisters is a non-profit organizations that has been around for over 100 years.  Claire Smith, the program coordinator for the  new Yellowknife charter of Big Brothers, Big Sisters, contacted me about sharing the news that Big Brother, Big Sisters is now in Yellowknife. We put together the below Q&A. If you feel inspired to volunteer, there is contact information at the bottom of this post.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters Yellowknife

What exactly is Big Brothers, Big Sisters?

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit organization that believes every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. For over 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has matched volunteer mentors with children and youth across the country to make a positive difference in their lives. They currently serves over 33,000 children in more than 1000 communities.

What does Big Brothers, Big Sisters coming to Yellowknife mean?

For 2014, it means that young Yellowknifers, from ages 7-14, will have the opportunity to spend time with a caring role model, build a friendship and have fun in a special program in their school. As a result, based on our research, these youths will be twice as likely to think school is fun, they might be less likely to engage in risky behaviours such as bullying and they will be more likely to grow up and give back to their community. It also means helping to increase the organizational capacity present to serve Yellowknife youth.

Who does Big Brothers, Big Sisters benefit and how?

Although Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs benefit the mentee, his or her family as well as the volunteer mentor directly, a recent study shows that Big Brothers Big Sisters also benefits the community and society as a whole. According to a study by The Boston Consulting Group, Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs generate an average social return on investment or SROI of $18 for every dollar invested through higher taxes and higher spending due to increased income and increased charitable donations in time and money.

We’ve also conducted market research surveys which demonstrate that Big Brothers or Big Sisters are more optimistic and feel younger than people who have not mentored. So mentoring benefits everyone tremendously.

Who can volunteer to become a Big Brother or Big Sister?

Anyone over the age of 19 can become a volunteer mentor after they have completed our application and screening process. Volunteers with BBBS are committed, consistent and caring individuals. We welcome anyone able to commit 2-3 hours of time per week, from February to June 2014. However we hope mentors will be able to stay for a minimum of one year.

What are some of the activities that might transpire?

We will be offering two different programs this year at Range Lake and Mildred Hall schools. Game On is a group program for boys, ages 11-14, which involves fun activities surrounding topics like healthy eating, physical activity and body image. Mentors for Game On will work in a team of two to deliver 8 weekly sessions.

We will also be offering In-School Mentoring with one-to-one matches for students age 7-11. Mentors can expect to get active, be silly, do some crafts, read some books, play some games and enjoy spending time with a cool kid for one hour per week during school hours!

Where can people find more information about volunteering for Big Brothers, Big Sisters?

Contact us ASAP – we are looking for volunteers now! Call the Program Coordinator Claire Smith – she is always looking forward to hearing from community members wanting to get involved. She can be reached at 867-444-0248 or by email:

You can also visit our website: or our Facebook page for more information!


About the author

Kyle Thomas

Kyle grew up in Yellowknife and is a local entrepreneur, writer, baker, and Yellowknife Advocate who is addicted to learning as much as he can about the community and sharing it with anyone who'll listen. In 2009 he developed A website all about living, working and thriving in Yellowknife for residents, newcomers, and visitors.

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