Big Brothers of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area is teaming up with Boston Pizza in Tillsonburg to challenge local men.
'Start Something' by becoming a mentor for more than 100 boys and young men in need of a positive influence in their life.
"Specifically, there are three main groups," said Nicole Killaire, Resource Coordinator, BBBS of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area. "Game On! is actually new, we're launching it from this campaign. And it's in-school. Basically it's helping young boys with healthy lifestyles - healthy living, healthy eating, healthy minds. It's a seven-week program running during the school year."
So there is a big push for male volunteers for the Game On! program, which focuses on playing sports, having fun, and building confidence in a group setting for Grade 7-8 boys, as well as the In-School Mentoring and Big Brothers programs.
"We have about 40 boys waiting for Big Brothers," Killaire noted.
In-School Mentoring, which Killaire also signed up for this year, is a once-a-week program where volunteers meet with students, play games and become a positive role model.
"Those are the three main programs we are looking to recruit for."
Another Big Brothers Big Sisters program that could use volunteers is the literacy program, said Deb Landon, BBBS executive director, which focuses more on reading and mathematics. And Big Bunch Groups, which are youth waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister.
"Right now (Big Bunch Groups) are on hold in Tillsonburg because we don't have enough volunteers."
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area thanked Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects 'Role Models for Life' for its generous support in helping them achieve their goals.
"With this funding we received from this Boston Pizza Future Prospects we're able to start this campaign," said Killaire, "and help out these programs."
The In-School programs, said Landon, are win-win for the volunteers.
"People come back just feeling so good. After they spend time with a child, they feel like a kid again. They come back feeling energized, and the child goes back to class feeling better about themselves."
The number of In-School volunteers needed is 'unlimited,' she noted.
"When the volunteers come in, they tell us which school they prefer, and what time they are available - we're restricted with both school boards now to nutritional breaks or lunch hours. We can't do it during instructional time. So however many volunteers come forward, we always have children for them. Same with Game On! As long as we have volunteers, teachers are referring kids for that.
"So there is always a need for volunteers, whether they are male or female, but predominantly more of the males."
In addition to Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects supports JDFR (Junior Diabetes Research Foundation), Kids Help Phone, Live Different, and the Rick Hansen Foundation.
"All really important, that affect us all," said Boston Pizza's Karlee Slattery, Community Relations Coordinator. "We're excited to be partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters and bringing in that local feel."
"The five organizations - all of the organizations - that they (Boston Pizza) commit to are all about youth and engagement and empowerment, and that's pretty special," said Tillsonburg Mayor Stephn Molnar. "So when you can find that engagement right here at the local level, then it gets into real people helping kids."
Some special events have been planned at Boston Pizza, Landon noted, (tentatively Oct. 21) that will be bring in Tillsonburg men, including UFC night. In the new year they are planning a celebrity server night, and then another major event in the spring.
"I might try to get someone special to come to that," Landon smiled.
"We're hoping this Boston Pizza campaign is successful. We hope to branch it into the community, and this kick starts it."
Are you ready to StepUP... and Start Something? For more information, visit sharethefun.org.