Big Brothers Big Sisters of Weyburn had increased growth in their programs last year, but that growth comes with some financial strains as the non-profit organization continues to strive to provide quality programming for local youth.
“Last year we had an incredible growth within the program, with volunteer inquiries tripling in amount and the volunteer numbers doubling over the last year,” said Sharla Sept, executive director of BBBSW.
“There was an increase of matches,” said Sept. “We are currently serving 30 children with 18 involved in a mentoring relationship, whether that is one-to-one or in a group setting.”
In the treasurer’s report, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Weyburn board were informed of a net loss of $7,194 in 2013. “The majority of this loss was due to an annual grant substantially cut by over $10,000,” said Pamela Paulgaard, treasurer.
“We had a good year in 2013, full of financial challenges, but attaining our goal of finding more matches for the children on our waiting list,” said Paulgaard.
“We have had to adapt to this shortage of funds, budgeting for prudent spending and looking for new ways to raise money,” said Paulgaard. Funds raised through donations, grants and the annual Curl For Kids Sake fundraiser are used to fund programs such as In School Mentoring, Big Bunch, Kids N Kops, Recreation Mentoring, traditional programs, as well as wages and covering general operations.
The largest increase in their expenses was a $1,500 increase in programming, particularly for their Kids N Kops program. They also raised $5,000 more at Curl For Kids Sake.
Kevin Smith, chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Weyburn, said that one of the biggest highlights from 2013 was the 100th anniversary celebrations for the non-profit organization.
“Programming in the Weyburn office continues to be a main object and with seeing more children getting involved, the outlook is bright. The start to the next 100 years is a positive one,” said Smith.
Sharla Sept recapped other important events for the organization during 2013. In January, they started their Recreation Mentoring, with Littles and Bigs meeting in a group setting bi-weekly to play floor hockey.
“This program has become a popular option for volunteers as the time commitment is only two hours a month,” said Sept. “It has proved to be very beneficial to both children and volunteers.”
Last year a new fundraising event called Curl for Kids Sake replaced the Bowl for Kids Sake event. “This event was an incredible success as over 100 people were in attendance, and the goal of $20,000 was attained and surpassed,” said Sept.
As executive director for the BBBSW, Sept had attended the Big Brother Big Sister of Saskatchewan Legislative reception in Regina. “It was exciting to see the turnout and support of mentoring programs in Saskatchewan,” said Sept.
Then in July, the centennial celebrations were the focus of the National Conference, held in Toronto by Big Brother Big Sister of Canada.
There were 17 children registered for the Kids N Kops program during the 2013 summer. Their summer events included field trips to CFB Moose Jaw, the RCMP depot, Kenosee water slides, and many fun tours of Weyburn locations.
In November, the Big Brother Big Sister of Weyburn office was moved to a new location in the Metro Centre on Third Street.
With a new year ahead of the organization, the next big event for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Weyburn will be their second annual Curl for Kids Sake, to be held Saturday, March 8 at the Weyburn Curling Rink.
This year’s theme is “Rock the Rings like a Redneck”. Curlers are encouraged to grab their brooms and some friends, family and coworkers for the fundraiser. Teams can register by contacting the Weyburn office, located in the Metro Centre on Third Street.
Residents are also encouraged to like the official Curl for Kids Sake Facebook page, where silent auction items are being posted. The items will be up for bid before the night of the auction, with online bids accepted.