National Vice President, Communications & Parternship Development, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada
Do you remember who made you feel valued when you were young? Who built your confidence? Who talked you through tough situations and inspired you to see possibilities for your future?
You remember these moments because of the impact they had on your life. These are the mentoring moments that are critical to a child’s development. Moments like these ignite a young person’s potential. But without a role model, moments like these aren’t possible for many young people, especially those from marginalized communities.
These young people may not even know what an ironworker is, never mind see a pathway to that career. And they may never see that opportunity without someone in their life to shine a light on it. That lack of a role model with lived experience in non-traditional roles is particularly acute for young women and girls — you’ve got to see it, to be it!
We can solve this problem. We know employers are thirsty for youth to fill the skills gap and we know Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs have proven educational engagement and employment readiness outcomes. Therefore mentoring is a critical element to closing the skills gap. This is especially true for women and girls in the trades.
Moments like these ignite a young person’s potential. But without a role model, moments like these aren’t possible for many young people, especially those from marginalized communities.
Youth who have had a Big Brother or Big Sister are 17% more likely to be employed. If people within the skilled trades step up as mentors, they will shine on a light on a job opportunity in the trades — just by being themselves.
You have the power to make mentoring moments happen by volunteering, donating, or partnering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Together we can ignite the power and potential of young people — and our economy!