Posted on Jul 14, 2020
Every day, youth in our community face challenges like bullying, isolation, poverty, social anxiety, low self-esteem, and more. Big Sisters caseworkers carefully match Little Sisters with female adult mentors who help them overcome adversities, make healthy choices, and ultimately reach their full potential. The aim is to enable life-changing mentoring relationships and ignite the power and potential of young people. 
 
“Study Buddy” is one of three, no-cost tutoring and mentoring programs of Big Sisters. It is a weekly one-to-one mentoring relationship that focuses on school work for at risk girls aged 7 to 17 years from low income families, through one hour sessions outside of school time to work on school subjects and study skills. The program is continuing to provide this valued service with $ $5,055 in emergency funding from the Delta Foundation. 
 
The funding comes from the Emergency Community Support Fund, during the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, administered across the country by Community Foundations of Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada, along with two other networks, United Way Centraide and Red Cross.
 
As the classroom has moved online, youth are struggling. Virtual learning is not intuitive, and many families are turning to private tutoring to supplement classroom learning. Private tutoring costs have increased, however, along with the cost of living in Vancouver so that youth, struggling with online schooling, will fall further behind if they cannot afford private tutoring. The program has also shown to boost self-confidence and reduce anxiety and depression, which is particularly important during a time where youth are increasingly lonely and isolated.
 
Despite loss of revenue from cancelled signature events because of COVID-19 Big Sisters has assisting Little Sisters connect with their Study Buddies virtually by moving our services online. Caseworkers  are giving extra attention to our matches by providing them with additional online child safety training in light of adapting to virtual services. The emergency funding will help recruit more Big Sisters online and train them virtually in addition to monitoring the matches online, and reduce waitlist times in Delta and provide more support for youth that are more vulnerable and isolated than ever.
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