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Big Brothers Big Sisters donation campaign enters homestretch

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Big Brothers Big Sisters donation campaign enters homestretch

A Prince Albert youth wellness organization has partnered with a local business to help move ahead with their mentorship programming.

Up until New Year’s Eve, residents can donate at seven Lake Country Co-op locations to help Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Prince Albert as part of their Ignite a Little Sparkle campaign. In exchange donors will receive a blue paper bulb to hang as a show of their support for youth mentoring.

BBBS development coordinator Natasha Thompson said it’s been a difficult past two years for the organization, so the funds are definitely needed.

“We definitely are in need of funds,” Thompson explained. “We’ve just rehired for our second position, and we’re ready to just get going here for 2023. There’s always a need. It’s definitely been challenging the last few years with all the changes.”

While there are concerned, there is also excitement. Thompson said hiring a new mentorship coordinator has helped kickstart the program, and that’s good because the waiting list is extensive.

Thompson said the average BBBS Prince Albert youth waits more than a year before being matched with a mentor. She’s hoping the organization can get that wait time down to a couple of months.

“We’re starting to chip away at it now but we’ve had some kids waiting over a year now, and our goal is to eliminate that, so it might take a while,” she explained.

“Across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters programs can have a waiting list, so it’s not just us, but yes, we would like to it get down to a shorter period of time. We have our costs as an organization just to keep going. We really appreciate the public’s support in our charitable cause to keep helping.”

Every dollar donated to the Ignite a Little Sparkle Campaign will go towards recruiting, screening, and training new volunteer mentors.

Thompson said mentors help improve the mental health and confidence of BBBS youth. That’s something that’s become even more vital during the past two years.

“COVID has been so hard on everyone’s mental health, right, (and) especially youth, (who) have a lot of anxiety and stuff,” she explained. “The ones who have had mentors have had a way better feeling about the whole thing. Now that we are back and we are going into 2023, we’re excited. We know the value of mentoring, and we’re glad the public does too.

The campaign started on Dec. 21, and continues until Dec. 31. Thompson said the response has been good so far, and she’s particularly grateful to Lake Country Co-op for coming on board as a partner.

Ignite a Little Sparkle campaigns have been run in North Battleford and Humboldt, but never Prince Albert. Thompsons said Lake Country Co-op has always been a strong supporter of BBBS through campaigns like their Good Fuel Day or other initiatives, so there was little doubt they would step up again.

“They’re a great community partner.”

To donate to the Ignite a Little Sparkle campaign, please visit the following locations:

• Lake Country Co-op Food Store  

• Lake Country Co-op Home Centre 

• Lake Country Co-op 2nd Avenue Gas Bar & Pro Tackle Shop 

• Lake Country Co-op Cornerstone Gas Bar & C-Store 

• Lake Country Co-op Marquis Road C-Store 

• Lake Country Co-op Marquis Road Liquor Store 

• Lake Country Co-op Cornerstone Liquor Store