At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.


Friday, March 20, 2015

It is the Very Pursuit of Happiness That Thwarts Happiness

According to this new study, you are at your happiest at 34.

The reasons for being happy at this age are listed as:

  • I met someone I fell in love with
  • I got married
  • I had children
  • I got a great new job/made a career change
  • Bought my first home
Perhaps it is just me… but I think that if some thing, person, or event is the reason you are happy, that happiness might be fleeting.

I googled “happiness” and found this quote from Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor:

"It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness."

Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning that those who found meaning even in the most horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," he wrote, "the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

There may be something to this...

A survey our organization did in June 2009 showed that people who were Big Brothers or Big Sisters lived longer and were happier than those who were not.

More specifically… half of the youth mentors polled (51%) described their lives as “very happy”, compared to 29 per cent of Canadian adults from the general population.

I don’t know if happy people volunteer or volunteering makes you happy but if you are still looking for happiness  - it is worth a shot to become a mentor!

Jennifer-Lee Thomas
Director of Marketing
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada

Monday, March 9, 2015

Celebrate Your Sister!

March 8th is International Women’s Day. In celebration, we asked our Bigs and Littles what makes their Big and/or Little sister an awesome role model. Here is what a few of them had to say:

"My little sister, Shania, is such an awesome role model. For the 8 years we have been matched, I’ve seen Shania blossom from a shy and timid young girl, into an out-going, friendly, confident young woman. Shania has played basketball at a competitive level for the last 5 or 6 years, and she is now in her second year on her High School Varsity team. She is a leader and strong team player, who always jumps at the opportunity to introduce younger children to the sport. For years she attended the local Boys and Girls Club, and it was well known that she could always be found on the court. I heard from more than one youngster that Shania helped them learn a new skill, or invited them into a game at the club. It makes me so proud to hear people in the basketball community talk about how easy she is to coach, how hard she works, and how great her positive attitude is. I couldn’t have asked for a more awesome Little Sister."

- Clara Tarjan on her Little sister Shania (Saint John)


"Pauline is a daring 9 year old, who is very active, imaginative, and a constantly on the go kind of girl. I, of course, have the pleasure of trying to keep up with her every time we hang out!

Each Thursday or Saturday we embark on a new adventure that will challenge us physically, and that we can check off our event “bucket list”. As of late, I have taught Pauline how to ice skate and play ice hockey. She is a very fast learner, and doesn’t mind falling down, as she is quick to get back up and try again.

She even made me face my fear of heights by rock climbing at the Romper Room in Nanaimo last month! She inspires me to be a better person, and to test myself on a weekly basis.

This little girl packs her own schedule with being a participate in such groups as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Guides, Girls to Women, and Youth Group. She is one motivated individual!"


- Lindsay McGuire on her Little Sister Pauline (Nanaimo)



"My little, Jamie, has been with me for five years. During that time, I have seen her grow from an uncertain and shy young girl into a confident and ambitious young woman. She has overcome many challenges, and she never gives up, no matter the situation. I am regularly left in awe of her maturity, grit, and kindness. I am Jamie's big, her mentor, but she has taught me a great deal about staying strong in the face of challenges, giving the best of ourselves to others, and making the best of every situation"

- Caryn Swark on her Little Sister Jaimie (Lethbridge)


My little sister is a prize
She is tall, wavy and athletic
At her young age, she is oh so wise
The day we met felt magnetic

We have played, laughed and ate
Seen films, bounced around and even watched a play
We love our coffee dates
I hope we never stray !


My little is charming and keen
At times a bit boy struck
but I have to remember she is only still a teen
Whoever she meets will sure be in luck


I have enjoyed my little
Many fond memories to share
Our friendship will never become brittle
We are a great pair!


-Danielle Porodo on her Little Sister (Edmonton)


"I am supposedly a role model for my little sister, but how is she a role model for a 66 year old grandmother? Kayla keeps me young! She keeps me in touch with a changing world! She teaches me what is hip, what is new in education and what is evolving in technology! She gets me out to activities, to movies, to theatre and to the art gallery! She is a friend and it is a special gift to spend one's time with a young girl who is finding her way in her family , her school and her community!!"

- Joan Avis on her Little Sister Kayla



Thanks to everyone who entered this Jill Yoga sponsored contest. Watch our facebook page for prize announcements.