Big Brothers Big Sisters Warn of Critical Youth Mentorship Gap



Big Brothers Big Sisters Warn of Critical Youth Mentorship Gap

More than 15,000 vulnerable children and youth waiting for mentors

TORONTOJan. 30, 2020 /CNW/ – There’s a growing mentorship gap affecting more than 15,000 Canadian children and youth, many of whom are facing vulnerable situations including poverty, family instability or identity-based discrimination. According to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, the need for Canadians to step up as positive role models is critical to the future health and well-being of Canada’s young people.

“The presence of one caring adult can make all the difference in a young person’s life,” says W. Matthew Chater, National President & CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. “Research shows that one-to-one mentoring has a social return on investment of $23-to-1 when it comes to the long-term economic, health, and social outcomes for youth in the most vulnerable situations.”

When it comes to the need for mentoring, the numbers tell the story. According to statistics provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada:

  • Nearly one in five Canadian children live in poverty
  • One in three have experienced some form of child abuse
  • 70% of mental health problems have their onset during childhood or adolescence
  • One in five children have considered committing suicide
  • 36% of girls in grade 6 say they are self-confident; this number drops to 14% by grade 10

Yet when paired with a mentor, youth from Big Brothers Big Sisters programs experience enhanced social capital, mental health and wellbeing, and have the soft skills needed for school and work. A study by The Boston Consulting Group demonstrated that Big Brothers Big Sisters alumni have increased confidence and self-esteem, improved financial literacy and employment outcomes, and make healthier life choices.

“Vital mentoring programs require corporate and individual support to exist and thanks to a transformational Scotiabank investment of $3.1 million, Big Brothers Big Sisters is matching young people with mentors across Canada,” says Chater. “By encouraging staff and customers to volunteer through promotions on ABMs and in bank branches across the country, Scotiabank is helping reduce the number of youth waiting to be matched with a caring adult.”

“At Scotiabank, we recognize what is possible when young people have the guidance, confidence and tools they need to achieve their dreams. Mentoring is a powerful relationship that can help young people thrive.” says Karen Soos, Director of Philanthropy, at Scotiabank. “We are proud to support mentor recruitment efforts of Big Brothers and Big Sisters and to recognize mentors who have already volunteered to help young people across Canada reach their infinite potential.”

To celebrate volunteer mentors across North America, mentoring organizations and supporters mark the month of January as Mentoring Month and January 30th as #ThankYourMentorDay. There are 21,000 volunteers currently mentoring youth in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Canada and 15,000 more are required to serve youth waiting for a mentor.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides one-on-one and group mentoring services for more than 40,000 children and youth in 1,100 communities across Canada. Many young people face adversities in their lives, resulting in toxic stress that can negatively impact their development. With the support of a mentor, young people can overcome these adversities and develop the confidence to reach their full potential. Our mentors are adults who create a positive developmental relationship with a young person, providing guidance, support, and constructive role modelling. Learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada here.

About Scotiabank

At Scotiabank, we aim to support organizations that are committed to helping young people reach their infinite potential. Young people are our future leaders and Scotiabank’s goal is to help ensure that they have the necessary skills and resources they need to support their success. Together with our employees, the Bank supports causes at a grassroots level. Recognized as a leader for our charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2019, Scotiabank contributed nearly $100 million globally to help our communities around the world.

Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. We are here for every future. We help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of more than 100,000 employees and assets of over $1 trillion (as at October 31, 2019), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @ScotiabankViews.

SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

For further information: Elissa Freeman for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, Cell: 416-565-5605; Karen Soos for Scotiabank,

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