When it comes to volunteering with youth, women are outperforming men! This volunteer gender gap is very apparent at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sault Ste. Marie, with 17 Little Brothers currently waiting to be matched, as opposed to 4 Little Sisters.

Mentoring a young person carries great impact and results, with evidence-based links to improved academic, social and economic prospects. When a “Big” mentors a young person, “Little”, they are not only impacting the life of that child but are strengthening our community and economy. What youth require to succeed is access to positive role models and mentors, who support, encourage, who lead by example and assist with overcoming the challenges of childhood to become successful, contributing members of society.

Big Brothers Big Sisters facilitates life-changing relationships that inspire and empower children and youth to reach their potential, both as individuals and citizens. Big Brothers Big Sisters has been providing valuable one-to-one group mentoring programs to Sault Ste. Marie for over 45 years. However, the gender volunteer gap continuously hinders organizational recruitment efforts to bring in more male role models.

While some Little Brothers are in need of a male influence/role model in their lives, the need for positive adult role models is not always gender specific.  In response to this male volunteer gender gap, Big Brothers Big Sisters has implemented and embraced “cross gender matching”.  Currently our cross gender matches have eight female mentors in the role of “Big Sisters to Little Misters”!!  Not only does cross gender matching alleviate the wait time for Little Brothers, but these matches are exemplary.  Little Brothers in cross gender matches are experiencing the benefits of a positive adult role model, are enjoying outings and the opportunity to participate in new adventures, learn new skills and form a lasting friendship with their Big Sister.

“My big sister is Emily. We have a lot of amazing time together. We spend time doing crafts, nature walks and many other fun activities. Emily is very kind and caring”. Owen Ralph, Little Brother match with Big Sister Emily Pereira since May 29th, 2017.

Big Sister Megan Jones…”Having a little brother has made me a more well-rounded big sister. It’s built my confidence in knowing what I can bring to the table to any child boy or girl”. Little Brother, James Burch, matched December 18th, 2017.