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Stories part of 'big' anniversary

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Stories of helping children and the impact that had on them will be read across the country.

To mark the 100th anniversary of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a book was released called Starting Something Big including stories from agencies all over Canada.

Personal testimonials from 11 Oxford County residents are included in the book.

Kelly Sivyer's story about his little brother titled The Rewards of Being a Big Brother, can be found on page 166.

"I wrote about an awards banquet we attended at the Elm Hurst. It was a great experience for him and for me," he said Friday night at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office in Ingersoll.

For more than five years both Sivyer and his wife took on the role of big brother and big sister. Linda Sivyer had a big sister when she was young and wanted to pay that experience back. When they found out the little sister she was matched with had a brother, Kelly Sivyer decided to become mentor as well. "A child really needs someone to look up to," Sivyer said. "We did a lot of different things, went to the movies, ate dinner out, he helped out at different fundraisers. It's really not that much time and the end result is worth it."

Although their original little brother and sister are aged out of the system now, the couple said they plan to mentor again when they retire.

"It's a lot of fun," Sivyer said.

Deb Landon, executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area said all the stories in the book will inspire people to become involved.

"It makes me proud. I've been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters for 30 years. These stories written by people from here will be read across the country and will be a part of the organization's history," she said.

Other stories included in the book are:

The Difference You Can Make, by Kevin Clarke

Big Brothers Big Sisters by Caroline Van Iperen

Making a Difference, by Pete Reintjes

Mentoring as a Couple, by Floyd and Lynda Plummer

Anything is Possible, by Tyson MacDonald

Make a Difference, by Tamara Bull

The Mysteries of Male Bonding, by Elizabeth Brekelmans

Lifelong Friends, by Mark Brekelmans

Light Bulb Moments, by Heather Brekelmans

Everyday Heroes, by Miriah Hamilton

The Rewards of Being a Big Brother, by Kelly Sivyer

Copies of the book can be purchased at the office on Thames Street in Ingersoll for $20.

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