Wednesday was a banner day for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County.
The 40-year-old Pictou County organization was celebrating with the other branches from across the country that form the 106-year-old national Big Brothers Big Sisters organization: A new day and a new look – but the same intent.
The kickoff was held on Big Brothers Big Sisters Day and a highlight of the event was an aerial act: Alex Theriault of Z97.9 FM radio station agreed to be “on air” in a different capacity – atop a scissor lift 28 feet in the air in the Aberdeen Business Centre parking lot. The purpose of the stunt was to call attention to the 200 kids waiting to be matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County. Theriault is a volunteer and Game On mentor with the local agency.
“The work that Big Brothers Big Sisters does in our community is incredible, that’s why I volunteer. They have multiple programs dedicated to bringing out the full potential of these kids and they have a dedicated staff who are some of the best people you’ll ever have the fortune of meeting,” Theriault said.
“They really need male mentors; some young guys are on the wait list for more than five years. If you like to play hockey, they’ll match you with a Little who likes hockey, if you like to go camping or fish, they’ll match you with a Little who likes to fish. An hour a week can change a life for the better and that’s why I’ll continue to support and volunteer and I hope you will, too.”
Margie Grant Walsh, executive director of the Pictou County agency, said there are thousands of kids on the wait list across the country, and that was one of the reasons for the big event on Wednesday.
There were two other reasons for the event: “We’re launching a provincial road trip today that kicks off here in Pictou County and goes to Colchester and is going to end in greater Halifax. Four matches are going to be travelling in vehicles provided by Enterprise.”
Pictou County’s Big Brother Mike Vienneau and his Little Brother Stefin were about to embark on the road trip, driving a bright yellow Jeep; the aim here was also to draw attention to long wait list of children in Pictou County looking to be matched with a Big.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” Vienneau said of the adventure before hitting the road.
Stefin had words of encouragement for anyone considering getting involved in the program: “Just go for it. It’s a great experience, it’s great for everybody and it will really help you in the long run.”
Vienneau said, “It’s a really rewarding experience. Stefin and his girlfriend are both in the program and they have realized there is help available and it really does make a difference in people’s lives. But there are still 200 kids in our community who are waiting to be matched.”
A final reason for the celebration was the launch of Big Brothers Big Sister’s new look that is a call to action for Canadians to be a part of something bigger, a movement to prove how critical relationships are to success, mental health and general wellbeing.
“Our modernization is meant to excite and engage a new generation of volunteers and donors and give them the opportunity to make a true difference in the world and change the life and lives of young people,” Grant Walsh said.
The new logo, she said, demonstrates the ‘power of three’: “The family, the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization and the mentor – “the three players who walk with young people through life’s joys and hardships and ignite their power and potential. We are all bigger together.”
To watch a video of the new brand launch visit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/BigBrothersBigSisters-PictouCounty or http://bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/biggertogether
Attending the launch was New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks who extolled the virtues of the good works the agency does in Pictou county.
“There’s nobody in Pictou County that does not know the work and the value of Big Brothers Big Sisters in our community,” she lauded.
Big Brother Mike Vienneau of New Glasgow, right, and his Little Brother Stefin pose with Margie Grant-Walsh, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County, before embarking on a road trip across the province to draw attention to fact that there are some 200 children in Pictou County on the list waiting to be matched with a Big. (Jardine photo)