In 2018, The Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland received $1000 from the Coquitlam Foundation to fund their Study Buddy program. This is a weekly one-to-one mentorship program aimed at building the academic success and self-confidence of female, transgender, and non-binary youth in the Lower Mainland. With the help of this funding, the Study Buddy program was able to support 146 at-risk youth, with 11 coming from Coquitlam.
Many of the youth (ages 7 to 17) who are mentored under this program face unique challenges, including issues at school or with family, risk factors for mental health, and identity challenges. The majority of the Little Sisters served across the various programs come from low-income families. 52% come from single-parent families, and 10% are in alternative care (adoptive, foster care, or living with a family member that is not their parent).
Pairing each Little Study Buddy with a mentor not only helps them with their schoolwork, but also in greatly increasing positive life outcomes well into adulthood. For example:
Girls with a mentor are 2½ times more likely to be confident in their ability to be successful at school
Girls with a Big Sister are four times less likely to bully than girls without a mentor.
Mentored girls were two times less likely to be depressed and three times less likely to have social anxiety
The following video showcases the impact that the Study Buddies program had on one mentee, Aziza: