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Big Brothers, Big Sisters to get in on centennial fun

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer will be getting in on the centennial fun on Saturday, and the public is invited to join in the celebration. The Big Brother program came to Canada in 1913 after being founded in the U.S. nine years earlier.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer will be getting in on the centennial fun on Saturday, and the public is invited to join in the celebration.

The Big Brother program came to Canada in 1913 after being founded in the U.S. nine years earlier.

Today, some 33,000 children and youth are mentored through 123 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies across the country.

Wednesday marked Big Brothers Big Sisters Day in Canada, and on Saturday, the Red Deer agency is hosting a celebration for “bigs,” “littles,” alumni, and the general public.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, with games, a barbecue and a performance by Flyin’ Bob on the docket.

There will also be a short program at 1 p.m. and anniversary cake afterwards.

As part of the program, an alumni pair who went through the Red Deer program and have stayed close since — the one-time mentee became the godfather of the mentor’s daughter’s child — will speak.

Approximately 100 adult volunteers are involved locally, through a one-on-one mentoring program, couple-to-child mentoring program, and in-school mentoring program.

In addition, last year through Hunting Hills High School, 83 teen volunteers mentored elementary kids.

“We now have approximately 40 youth who are waiting to be matched, and we hope that through this event and some of the other promotion things that are going on, we hope to have more people involved in the programs and really helping serve kids,” said Janessa McCormack, volunteer resource co-ordinator with the local agency.

The anniversary has also been commemorated with the issuance of a Canada Post stamp, and nationally, the organization is running The Big Shout Out project, which encourages people to give a “shout out” to anyone who has made a difference in their life, not necessarily through Big Brothers. McCormack said she hopes more people will participate in the initiative.

McCormack encouraged anyone interested in attending the Saturday celebration to register in advance, to ensure an adequate amount of food is prepared.

To do so, or for more information, contact McCormack at 403-342-6500 or janessam@yvc.ca.

The Red Deer club has existed for 37 years.