Big Brothers Big Sisters of Owen Sound has a new executive director.
Jennifer Miller will take on the lead role for the organization. BBBS Owen Sound board president Andy McKee says Miller comes with over 20 years of management consulting experience to fill the new position for the non-profit.
"Jennifer has been a resource for us over the past few years assisting with everything from our accreditation with the national office through to strategic planning and governance revitalization," McKee says. "We are thrilled to have her as part of our team and formalizing our relationship just made sense."
Miller says the expansion of programming and the addition of the in-school mentoring program created the need for an executive director to manage daily operations. Looking for collaboration opportunities, engaging more volunteers and leading fundraising efforts are some responsibilities, she says.
"I think we all need to take responsibility for the future of our community and that starts with kids and supporting their success," Miller explains. "There's been lots of cuts in resources (in the community) so making sure there's caring adults out there that will step up, I think will make a difference."
Miller says statistics show connecting at risk youth in a caring relationship with a positive adult role model can have a profound impact.
She says mentors help youth make responsible choices, attend and engage more in school and reduce or avoid risky behaviours. Young people with positive role models are 43% less likely to have conduct problems in school, twice as likely to have high academic achievement, 17% more likely to be gainfully employed as adults and 34% less likely to allow themselves to be bullied by peers.
Miller notes January is Mentoring Month across Canada, and BBBS Owen Sound will mark it with the launch of its Be A Hero campaign.
She says it's an effort to enlist more adult volunteers to donate time to mentorship programs.
"Hopefully we'll get a lot more adults on board because there's kids on wait lists right now looking for an adult to take some time," she says.
To find out more about volunteer opportunities with BBBS Owen Sound visit www.bigbrotherbigsisters.ca/owensound or call the office at 519-376-4449.