One hour a week as an in-school mentor truly change a child’s life. I know this because I have had the privilege to mentor a young girl for two and a half years in a small local school. This has been a learning experience for both of us as we discover opportunities to learn how to just have fun.  We have a great time planning art projects, tea parties, playing cards, watching the birds or blowing bubbles in the winter outside.  One hour a week presents an opportunity to help foster her talent (she is a gifted artist already) and encourage her to feel confident about joining art club and a running program this year. One hour a week does change a child’s life but it also changes the mentor’s life.

Penny Barton Dyke, Volunteer Mentor    (In-School Mentor of the Year—what an honour)



I decided to become a Big Sister over a year ago when my husband suggested I do something to help ease the pain and loneliness of being an ‘empty nester’. My Little Sister has changed my life. I know there are many children out there who would benefit from being in this program. I had no idea how much I would be impacted by this experience. I feel like I have gained confidence and self esteem.  Seeing improvements and accomplishments in my little sister has been unbelievably gratifying. We get to share experiences and participate in activities we might not otherwise do. My sister is family. She is involved in household activities and often asks about my husband, children and pets while we are out and looks forward to seeing them.

Being a Big Sister is a great opportunity to share love, friendship and fun activities. I feel a great sense of community and participate in more local events. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kawartha Lakes – Haliburton has provided continual support through phone calls, emails and in person meetings. When I was experiencing some behaviour difficulties with my Little Sister, I was completely supported and never felt alone. There are constant resources provided (community events, tickets, books, games) and opportunities to meet other Bigs and Littles.

Being a Big Sister has filled my heart. It is a fulfilling and valuable experience to be not just be a friend but a ‘Sister’. I appreciate the organization and the impact this has had on my life. There are really no words to express how incredible it is to be a Big Sister. It has improved my life. I look forward to many more years with my sister and benefiting from the opportunities that this organization gives us.


Karen Szostak, Big Sister, Kawartha Lakes, ON