Today at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto Big Brothers and Big Sisters brought more than 200 of their Littles for a day of skating and fun. Local group Skate to Great provided skates to all kids and FedEx donated helmets. The air was alive with children’s excitement at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Kids were enjoying arts and crafts, sporting games, skating and some of the yummiest food around. Canadian Bronze Medal Figure Skaters Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier also skated for the kids before the ice rink was opened for an afternoon of fun!
The holiday party has been going on for 10 years but without the support of other companies it could not continue. Today’s event was hosted by Jam Direct. The company owned by a former Big Brother paid for everything so that there is no cost to the agency.
Kate Maynard, Fundraising Events Manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters said, “Without Jam Direct we couldn’t do it. This is President Sean Garvey’s way of giving back.” Maynard explained that Garvey was a Big Brother until fairly recently and was wanting to help the program. Last year was the Jam Direct’s first year covering all of the costs of the holiday event which climbed into tens of thousands of dollars.
Maynard said that any of the food that was left over will be going home with the kids. Sadly for many of the children in the program hunger is an issue. The kids also took hoe a gift bag provided by Loblaws that included treats and a toy.
This is the first year for Skate To Great and the BBBS holiday event was a perfect match. Co-founder Evan Kosiner said that it was great seeing the kids be so excited. Each child at the holiday party went home with a pair of skates collected by Skate To Great.
FedEx Express Canada kindly donated $5000 for helmets and select skates for the children. The Big Brothers Big Sisters(BBBS) program has been mentoring children and youth for 100 years. Canada’s program started in 1913 in Toronto and is the largest mentoring program in the nation. Big Brothers and Big Sisters take an active role in the lives of their Little Brothers and Little Sisters spending an hour or two with them each week. There is always a need for adults to be part of the program especially men. If you would like to be a Big Brother or Big Sister connect your local agency.