Success Stories And Testimonials!
“Unlocking A Child’s True Potential Creates A Future Where Anything Is Possible.”
Look What Mentors Have Started:
Boys and Girls with a Big Brother Big Sister are three times less likely than boys and girls without a mentor to suffer peer pressure related anxiety, such as worrying about what other children think or say about them.
Mentored boys and girls are two times more likely to believe that school is fun and that doing well academically is important.
Mentored boys and girls are also two times less likely than non-mentored boys and girls to develop negative conducts like bullying, fighting, lying, cheating, losing their temper or expressing anger.
90% of mentors saw a positive change in the child they were mentoring.
89% of volunteers feel better about themselves.
66% of volunteers are prouder of the company they work for.
88% of students showed improved literacy skills.
64% of kids had higher levels of self-esteem.
Take A Look At What Some Of Our Bigs And Littles Have To Say About The Program!
Ice Cream Dilemma – Imagine being unable to select your favourite flavour…
We stood in line for ice cream. My Little Sister Letecia stared blankly at the large, illuminated menu. All the usual flavours were there—chocolate chip cookie dough, tiger-tiger, cherry cheesecake, and my favourite, pistachio. But Letecia couldn’t decide.
“Have you made up your mind?” I asked.
Letecia just shook her head, eyes gazed downwards as her cheeks turned a soft shade of red.
At the time, my Little Sister was 10 and I started to realize what was happening. She couldn’t read the menu. Strawberry was too hard for her to sound out, let alone words like chocolate or vanilla. So, there she stood, hands stuffed into her blue jean Capri pants, unable to order an ice cream cone.
It took me a while to realize how much difficulty my Little Sister was having with reading. She never wanted to fill out the evaluation forms we got each month at the Big Sisters events. Without an explanation, she just told me to do it. She would quietly help me, but she never wanted to be the one holding the pen.
To me, she just seemed like a quiet girl. As an only child she never had to fight to be heard so I figured she was just being shy.
It was because she couldn’t read.
“Sometimes I get embarrassed,” she told me. “Because I can’t really read. It’s hard for me to read.”
It broke my heart, but I knew with enough patience and determination, Letecia could learn to read.
Letecia and I started visiting the library. I wanted to do as much reading as I could with her. We took out a stack of children’s books meant for children either 5 or 6 years old. Letecia didn’t care. She flipped through the colourful illustrations, and took the time to sound each word out.
During my time with Big Sisters, I realized Letecia was not an alone. Many of the children in the program struggle to read. Some come from families where the parents speak another language, others from singleparent homes, and other children slip through the cracks at school.
Rebecca Haugen can attest to this. As the program director of YWCA Big Sisters of Regina, she sees many of the children reading below grade level.
“We have seen so many kids who are in grade five or six and they are reading at a grade one maybe a grade two reading level,” she says.
Even Rebecca’s own Little Sister struggled to read.
“It started out with things like recipes or we would be looking at a sign and I realized she couldn’t read at all,” says Rebecca.
Rebecca decided to start an after-school tutoring program. She called it Big Boost and she encouraged many of the Little Sisters to participate.
“I hope they have a little bit of fun reading,” she says. “And it’s so important. I just know that if you can’t read math questions in high school, then you can’t get a job. It becomes this huge barrier and it means life is going to be very difficult if you can’t read.”
Letecia and I have kept reading together and she tries to go to Big Boost as often as she can. I have watched Letecia gain the confidence she needs to succeed not only in school, but in life.
She now grabs the pencil out of my hand so she can fill out the Big Sister evaluation forms. She tries to read me everything that falls into her hands—school handouts, movie stubs, and theatre programs. She may not get all the words, but she’s at least sounding them out. And she’s able to order a large ice cream cone all on her own.
By: Leisha Grebinski – A Big Sister in Regina.
She also produces radio for CBC Saskatchewan.
When my son, Justin was 8 he was matched to a big brother named Luke Wells. The two of them were so alike, it sometimes gave me deja vu as to what my son would be like as a grown up. After being matched for about 10 months Luke had to move. Justin and Luke have kept in touch over the years and Justin has even been able to visit Luke on occasion. Sometimes Luke would drive half way and I would drive half way and he would take Justin home for the weekend and then we would meet again on Sunday for me to pick Justin up and bring him home. More recently Justin was able to take the Greyhound Bus.
One day Justin and I were playing a game of – if we won the lottery and could go anywhere in the world where would that be – I said Africa or New York. Of all the places in the world he could visit, my son only wanted to go to be with his former Big Brother.
Justin thankfully has had a new Big Brother for two years now and they have a great relationship as well. I am so very thankful that my son has two big brothers in which to look up to and I am especially thankful that Luke has chosen to remain a part of Justin’s life.
This organization completely warms my heart.
This is my story; I was adopted before I was even a month old from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I never thought anything bad about being adopted until I started school. I would wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, style my hair, eat breakfast, and then get a ride to school. But when I got there, I just wanted to run far, far away, even though I was only 6 years old. The kids at school called me names because I didn’t look the same as them, and because I looked nothing like my mom. Everyday was the same. Now when you’re little, you don’t have the ability to tell yourself “Turn the other cheek,” or “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” So instead of staying strong, I felt sorry for myself and cried. I would love to tell you that during elementary school, or even high school, that the bullying stopped, but I’d be lying. I was in grade seven when the bullying hit its extreme. My mom saw changes in my attitude towards school, my way of looking at life, but worst of all, my respect towards my family.
My mom was struggling to help me, because I was telling her that I didn’t want or need any help, when I really did. My mom was trying almost everything, but none it worked. Almost everyone in my life knew something was wrong. My mom was talking to a friend about how life was getting harder for me, and they suggested ‘Big Sisters’ to her. When my mom brought it up to me, I was nervous and a little against it. I mean, it would mean I would HAVE to open up to someone as well as my mom. But at the same time it sounded like it would be different and fun, so I agreed to it. I had one condition though; my big sister had to have been bullied when she was in school, so she could relate to me. My mom agreed. After those few nerve-racking weeks of waiting, I was matched to an amazing, open-minded lawyer who started to change my bad attitude just by sitting next to me.
Christina is a funny, always laughing woman, who seemed just as nervous as me when we first met. Even though I didn’t know her at all, I sensed that her flowing vibe could loosen mine. We were matched, but I didn’t know what to expect. But after a little bit of time I opened up to her. That was the moment Christina began to be my “Big Sister.” We have been matched for just over two years, and we have a strong, great friendship. We have done lots of amazing and interesting things together, like some of the Big Sisters events we’ve attended include, watching a Canuck’s hockey game in a “box,” and going sailing. We also just hang out together and do stuff at her house,like playing board games, cooking awesome food (the sushi making was the best), and making a cool home-made video for my homework, that’s been splashed all over YouTube. But even though all of this is fun and special, I would love doing absolutely anything with Christina as long as I had her company.
I feel like Big Sisters has changed me – I’m more confident about myself than ever before, and my self-esteem is through the roof- at times. And even though my life at school can still be rough and the bullying still continues, my attitude towards it has changed throughout these three years. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and thinking the world must hate me, Christina has shown me that putting a little more effort into the things that really count in life can conquer all the things and events that are trying to stop me from being who I am. And I believe being who you are is just a treasure in itself. I believe all these positive reactions are inspired by the help and guidance of Christina. (Thank you sis). And thank you all for your support of Big Sisters.
Little Sister Shupri, age 14 Gala Speech.