From Our Community

 Workability3

Testimonial of a Successful Community Partnership

The Workability program started in 2013 with the express objective of offering employment opportunities to people with a variety of barriers to long term employment. Right now, the Workability Program employs 17 people on a part-time basis in three different social enterprises.

"We want to offer our participants experience in real work", said Marjorie Driscoll, Executive Director. The Workability Program currently operates a tree farm where participants grow trees which are sold on a wholesale basis. They also operate a pie-making social enterprise which sells pies to the Pie Factory in Parksville as well as operating a Thrift Store. By operating a number of different Social Enterprises, Participants learn real work skills, become socially engaged, build their self confidence and become successfully employed in meaningful work specifically tailored to their interests and aptitudes.

"We have worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters on a volunteer basis helping out with their events", said Marjorie. "Because of that, they approached us to hire people to work in their Recycled Clothing Program." Right now, Three Workability Participants are working in the Recycled Clothing Program. "We have received tremendous feedback that our three participants are their best workers!", she said.

Suzie Snow, one of the participants who works in the Recycled Clothing Program enjoys her job with Big Brothers Big Sisters. "The people are great to work with, everyone is kind and I get some great exercise.", she said. "Everyone looks out for each other and working there helps out Big Brothers Big Sisters."

Marjorie had great things to say about the partnership between the two organizations. "Its a great relationship and offers our participants real work for real pay. I think this partnership is a great model for how two non profit organizations can work together in a win-win scenario."

For more information on the Workability Program, visit http://www.work-ability.ca or give them a call at 250-821-9944. 

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“Over the past six years, schools I have been associated with have benefited from secondary student and adult volunteers that have received training from the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization.

Since this program has been running in our schools, we have seen remarkable changes in the behavior of our young needy students. It is difficult to contemplate why we didn’t have such a well received and beneficial program before… I wholeheartedly recommend this program to any school that wishes to know more about it.”

- Principal,
Upland Parks School



"For the past four years, Big Brothers Big Sisters have helped provide high school mentors to support some of our vulnerable students. Our Students have the opportunity to develop close relationships with these mentors as they receive extra individual attention. This helps build self esteem and develops confidence...This helps our students focus to become more successful at school.

In conclusion, this program is very beneficial to our most vulnerable students."

- Principal,
Ladysmith Primary School



"On behalf of the students and staff at Fairview Community School, I would like to thank you and the mentors who have faithfully appeared at our school every week to brighten the lives of over a dozen of our students. I thought your mentors both from this year and in future years would like to know how much of an impact they have had so I would like to share some of the comments I have heard from students at our school.

A mature male mentor is devoting time to a troubled youngster for the second year in a row because he can see the difference he is making in this child's life. Even though this man has raised his own children, he is back generously sharing his time with a student at our school.

A young male student who deals with chronic health issues came bursting into my office at the end of September to announce, "I know I was sick this week, but I had to come today because my mentor is coming."

..Many of our Grade 7 students left this year excited to head up to High School but also promising to be back as soon as they were old enough to be mentors themselves. We'll be happy to have them as there are many requests from teachers for mentors and we aren't able to find enough matches for the number of requests we receive.

Thank you all for your enthusiasm, your professionalism and your caring service to our school!"

- Vice Principal,
Fairview Community School



"I would like to take this opportunity to express support for the School Mentoring Program in School District 68 sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island. As a former school principal involved in implementing this program at my school, I can attest to its success and value to youth.

Through this impressive program which is currently implemented at five of our elementary schools, adult community volunteers and teen mentors from district secondary schools have made important connections with elementary schools who desperately need the support of a significant adult/youth in their life. The experiences are unforgettable for those students in meed and unfortunately we are not able to meet the ever growing requirement for this one on one guidance.

There is noticeable improvement in the child's self esteem, confidence, social skills emotional stability and also the belief in their ability to be successful in their daily lives

..We wish Big Brothers Big Sisters much good luck in their fundraising efforts so that this important program can continue to help meet the need in our community. When a plan such as the school mentoring program is successful in supporting these needy students, everyone in the community benefits. It is a fine example of a school-community partnership that is a genuine success."

- Superintendent of Schools,
School District 68
(Nanaimo-Ladysmith)




“Coal Tyee has a very needy clientele and it is hard to meet the needs of all the students. The in-school mentoring program has been a significant and positive addition to the support that we offer our students and it is my hope that the program will continue at our school in future years.”
Principal, Coal Tyee School

"The staff at Brechin values this important program for the significant, positive impact it has upon our children. I thank Paulyne, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Nanaimo Rotary North and our mentors for this very worthwhile program at our inner-city school. There are always smiling faces and happy children during their one on one time with their mentors."

- Principal,
Brechin Elementary School


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