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Posted: January 19, 2017

Community Rallies for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Despite the challenges ahead, Executive Director optimistic about organization’s future

Thanks to the generosity of the local community, as well as the confirmation of a Community Gaming Grant, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Cranbrook will continue operations into 2017.

In November, BBBS released a statement to media notifying the community that they were struggling with a short-term financial crisis and needed financial support to continue operating.

The community responded to the call for support with overwhelming generosity. December was a turning point for the organization; as many local businesses and individuals rallied behind BBBS. Leading the charge was realtor Jason Wheeldon.

Christy and Jason Wheeldon
Christy and Jason Wheeldon

“Jason Wheeldon, who is a long time Big Brother, stepped up immediately to lend a hand to elevate the charity, which has essentially been out of the public eye for two years,” said BBBS Executive Director, Jordan MacDonald. “After learning of the uncertain future of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Jason and his wife Christy organized a fundraiser on Dec. 2 at Dewey’s Pub that raised $7,500.

“It was a dream come true to witness the incredible momentum and efforts of Cranbrook residents to ensure our doors stayed open. Due to the community’s generosity, we raised $13,000 within a very short time frame. However, now the real work begins. We have a lot to do to ensure we do not find ourselves in a similar situation again. Although we have met our short-term financial need we are in the position of rebuilding the organization from the ground up.”

MacDonald, who previously worked for the BBBS of Lethbridge, came to Cranbrook in 2016 as the New Executive Director and tasked with rebuilding the organization.

“I knew coming into the position the agency was small and faced challenges but I saw a real need for the BBBS mentoring program within this community and wanted to help it remain here,” said MacDonald, adding that BBBS relies heavily on volunteers, who serve as mentors and board members.

“One of the tasks in rebuilding the organizations is developing the board of directors,” said Lakisha Gjertsen, Board Chair. “We are looking for volunteers to join as board members to aid in the direction of the organization. We are looking for people who have time to commit and a passion for mentorship.”

Another immediate goal of the organization is to serve more children in the community. BBBS of Cranbrook is currently accepting applications for “Bigs” and “Littles.”

To learn more about BBBS and how to get involved please visit their website.

You can also call the office at 250.489.3111, or email [email protected] .

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook would like to thank everyone who assistance the organization in December. Thank you to Jason and Christy Wheeldon for their support and commitment to mentorship, and offer their sincere gratitude to everyone who volunteered to organize the Dec. 2 event, including Dani Williams for hosting the fundraiser and Mike Davis for emceeing.

Thank you to Bridge Interiors who assisted our office move to our new location at the Kootenay Child Development Centre (KCDC) #16-22 12th Ave N.

And, of course, Thank you to the following businesses and individuals who made a financial contribution in December: Angela Byron, Arby’s, Arrow Volkswagon, Bedroom Furniture Galleries, Black Press, BMO, Bridge Interiors, Canadian Western Bank, Cranbrook Dodge, Dani Williams, Denham Ford, Fraternal Order of Eagles, Freightliner, Garrett Mayne, Holly Dudka and Christopher Nault, Inland Kenworth, Jason and Christy Wheeldon, Jason and Jocelyn Fast, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Jody Jacob Mindful Marketing, Joe and Carley Detta, Judith and George Blakley, Justin Jacob Just In Time Plumbing & Heating, Kang-Min Zhu, Keith and Lois Dettling, Kerry Orza, KL Solutions, Knights of Columbus, Laura and Darcy Kennedy, Lori White, Mike Davis, Mike Hardy, Mister Tire, Nella and Dennis Rounsville, New Dawn Developments, North Star, Paul, Rocky Mountain Diesel, Sandy Smith, Sean Hoeksema & Blackbird Pub, Shayne Hoecherl, Snap On, Spring Honda, Tammy and Sheldon Boe, Taylor Adams Chattered Accountants, Rotary Club of Cranbrook, Walter Pearce, Wayne Franklin.

* Please note that we did receive some donations where the donor was left anonymous, but in which case we are still incredibly thankful.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook is planning their annual Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser in April. Get your bowling shoes ready, and waiting for upcoming details for this fun and exciting event!


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