Stepping up as a Big Sister

Big Sister LS Marie-Eve Long enjoys a hockey game with her Little Sister and friend MS Dany Nadeau. Photo by LS Mike Golubuff

Big Sister LS Marie-Eve Long enjoys a hockey game with her Little Sister and friend MS Dany Nadeau. Photo by LS Mike Golubuff

Ashley Evans, Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton ~

Two years ago, Leading Seaman Marie-Eve Long of FMF Cape Breton attended a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria orientation session about mentoring opportunities.

She went with a friend, but she ultimately applied to be a big sister.

Having grown up with a father who struggled with alcohol addiction, LS Long could identify with less advantaged children.

“Some kids need that added support growing up. Someone to look up to, an added perspective,” she says.

It was a two-month process to be matched with her “Little,” as she affectionately calls her, after she started the application process. This included a criminal record check, screening, and a shared skills and interest questionnaire to find the right match. From there, a social worker became involved, sharing information between the two and the child’s family to ensure a good fit.

LS Long then made a one-year commitment, which has extended to another year and a second Little Sister. She meets with her “Little”, now 17 years old, biweekly, and her second “Little,” who is 10 years old,  weekly.

“The kids and youth are learning a lot of healthy life skills from their mentors,” says Rhonda Brown, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria. “Overall mental-health, self-esteem, self-confidence, healthy social skills, and problem-solving skills. They are watching and learning from their mentors.”

Brown has worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters for 14 years.  Her passion comes from a belief that quality time spent together can change the trajectory of a person’s life. She sees mentoring as a preventative factor in child and youth development.

“Children aren’t given up on, and it is awesome to be a part of that,” said Brown.

Mentors are well supported by the organization. A case worker conducts monthly check-ins, offers referrals to other support services, answers to questions regarding best supports for youth, offers group activities for matched youth and mentors to attend together, complimentary passes for local attractions and activities, and exposes them to opportunities they might not otherwise experience.

LS Long says she has learned patience through her experience as a mentor.

“How I speak impacts kids,” she adds. “And when I spend time with them, I forget about my problems; I always smile, I feel happier, more energized.” 

Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria serves approximately 600 families a year. Their goal for 2020 is to serve 185 new families; over 100 kids and youth are currently on the wait list to be matched with a mentor.

For anyone looking to become involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria visit

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (1)

Leave a Reply | Trackback URL

  1. Walt Dettwiler says:

    Good for her!

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.