Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Calgary and Area supports many rural youth, including in Cochrane, and a local business is helping them in a unique way.
BBBS has begun a new All-Star campaign to help raise funds in support of its mentoring programs for children, and increase awareness in the role that mentorship plays in a child's life.
Rocky Hynes, Manager, BBBS Communications & Marketing, says the campaign was started because one of the organization's major fundraising events was cancelled.
"For the last 10 years we have hosted the All Star Weekend, which is our largest annual fundraiser," he says. "We were forced to cancel it this past spring because of a lack of sponsorship, due to the economy."
Two of the long time sponsors for the All Star Weekend understood what impact the funding shortfall would have on youth, and have pledged to match every donation made to the campaign up to $100,000, for a grand total of $200,000.
Mackay's Ice Cream is one of the many businesses helping to raise $200,000 with a special ice cream flavour, All Star Grape Float, with all proceeds going to BBBS.
Hynes says the outpouring of support from BBBS satellite communities has been tremendous.
He shares these are challenging times for everyone in Alberta and BBBS has not been immune to those challenges, a lack of funding means they must turn youth away.
"Most of our programs are at capacity, we have seen a huge increase in demand for our services because of the economic downturn. So we are really reaching out to the public to say we cannot allow kids who need support and a role model to fall through the cracks. We had close to 1000 kids who reached out to us last year for service that we couldn't match because of a lack of resources."