Big Steps to Success

Adult and youth standing and laughing in sunny room

Mentor Kree with mentee, Eric.

BMO logo and Ontario logo
Offering customized mentoring for young people in care.

Young people living in government care are often lacking caring relationships with trusted adult mentors – a gap that has dire consequences for their confidence, self-worth, education and ability to move forward after care.

According to research conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada in partnership with Boston Consulting Group, every dollar invested in mentorship returns $23 to society. Other findings show that, compared to their non-mentored peers, vulnerable youth who receive mentoring are:

  • 55% more likely to enroll in post-secondary education.
  • 17% more likely to be gainfully employed.
  • 78% more likely to volunteer.
  • 130% more likely to hold leadership positions.
  • 50% more likely to have a strong social network.

Big Steps to Success is a mentorship program specifically designed for children and youth living in government care who are between the ages of 7 and 14. This initiative will establish partnerships between child welfare organizations and Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies to offer customized mentoring for these young people. The objective of the program is to help young people living in government care improve educational outcomes and benefit from a caring adult relationship. Each mentee-mentor pair will participate in the program for a period of three to five years, with a minimum commitment of one year.

Read the February 3, 2022 media release

By connecting young people living in government care with trusted, trained adult mentors and providing dedicated ongoing support, Big Steps to Success will:

  • Help young people benefit from the power of a nurturing, caring adult relationship.
  • Improve educational outcomes at the primary and secondary school levels, supporting higher rates of high school graduation.
  • Lead to increased rates of post-secondary enrollment among youth in and from the child welfare system.
  • Stop the generational cycle of abuse and neglect, setting young people up for lifetimes of their own unstoppable success.

Big Steps to Success currently operates at four primary sites across Canada:

Primary sites map of Canada

Interested in becoming a mentor?

Connect with a Big Steps to Success Coordinator at one of our four Primary Sites:

Victoria and Area

Jacqueline Sookermany 
(250) 475-1117 ext. 53 
[email protected]

North Bay (Indigenous-focused)

Melinda Shank
(705) 474-3041
[email protected]

Saskatoon and Area

Jessica Kirk
(306) 244-8197 ext. 2-245
[email protected]

Toronto

Rhiannon Petrycka
(416) 925-8981 ext. 4164
[email protected]

Each Big Steps to Success volunteer mentor receives specialized training focused on supporting the unique needs of children and youth involved in the child welfare system.