For the past two years I have been fortunate to serve as a committee member for the Big Bash, a yearly gala celebration of the excellent work that Big Brothers Big Sisters of London and Area (BBBSOLA) provides to local youth. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Big Bash and I am happy to say that BBBSOLA was well celebrated by over 300 attendees at the London Hunt and Country Club, including a number of Lerners lawyers, students and employees. Overall, the event raised over $70,000 to support local BBSOLA programs!
For those of you who are not familiar with BBBSOLA and what they do for our community, I urge you to visit their website. In short, Big Brothers Big Sisters strives to provide mentoring relationships to young people in need, helping them reach their potential in school, at home and in every other aspect of their lives.
BBBSOLA has had a long-standing presence in London and its surrounding area, having begun operations in 1971. Since that time it has substantially expanded. For example their school based mentoring programs grew to serve over 900 local children in 2017.
Lerners is also proud to be a long-standing supporter of BBBSOLA, with many Lerners lawyers and employees serving both on the board of directors and various committees throughout the decades. The organization’s very inception has a connection to the legal community as well. BBBSOLA began operations in 1971 after then Provincial Court Judge Maurice Genest found that many of the youth offenders who came before him in court may not have found themselves in that position had they had a caring adult to guide and support them.
The highlight of this year’s event was an inspiring speech by a “little sister” mentee, who underscored the impact her mentor has had upon her over the course of many years of mentorship, although, she described their relationship not as one of mentorship, but as a friendship. It is those types of relationships that make the efforts of BBBSOLA volunteers and employees so important to our community. The night also included local radio personalities as MCs, great silent auction items, a raffle, dancing, a photo booth and even an auction for late-night, table-side fast food delivery!
I would encourage anyone who is interested in supporting or becoming involved with BBBSOLA to visit the website for information about events and volunteer opportunities. You should also keep an eye out for tickets for the 2019 Big Bash, as they won’t last long!