Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada mentor volunteer with her mentee

Mental health

Transforming the Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer experience through technology

Nov 15, 2022
A positive mentor can make a big difference in a youth's life. For over 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada has supported youth in communities across the country by connecting them with volunteer mentors. The organization's proven mentorship model helps young people overcome adversities and obstacles that they face in their lives, while building resiliency which carries over into adulthood. Ask A, a former “Little” (mentee) program participant with Big Brothers Big Sisters:
“My ‘Big’ (volunteer mentor) helped me through a lot of hard times,” said A. “My mom passed away and when I joined the program, I had no friends and I was always sad, but my ‘Big’ helped me through alot of that by just being there for me and sharing new, fun experiences together.”
According to Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada: 
  • 80% of mentored youth pursue healthy lifestyles
  • 87% have strong social networks
  • 98% believe they make good choices
  • 96% report being happy
Unfortunately, for many local Canadian Big Brothers Big Sisters member agencies, the demand for youth in need of mentorship far outweighs the number of volunteers available to make a match. With so many children and youth waiting to be matched with a volunteer mentor, member agencies have had to close their waiting lists. Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada applied for a TELUS Friendly Future Foundation Innovation Grant to implement a new technology solution that will help increase volunteer acquisition and retention in order to meet the heightened demand for mentors across the country.
Thanks to a $200,000 TELUS Friendly Future Foundation Innovation Grant, Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada will be embarking on their “Little Wait Big Impact” technology project. A digital transformation, the project aims to reduce wait times during volunteer onboarding and intake, where the organization traditionally sees a lot of interested volunteer mentors drop off. This will be done by implementing a new digital tool that will allow Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada’s 100+ member agencies to have documents signed and uploaded online, make virtual bookings for training and interviews, as well as leverage technology to effectively match youth with volunteer mentors while improving the user experience.
TELUS Friendly Future Foundation’s Innovation Grants support breakthrough ideas in the Canadian charitable sector. By funding the technology that will power Big Brothers Big Sisters Canada’s “Little Wait Big Impact” project, together we’re helping more youth who are facing obstacles reach their full potential.