Celebrating 15 Years of Life-Changing Study Buddy Program

It’s no secret that pressures for girls to be perfect are at an all-time high. Not to mention that 50% of kids in the Lower Mainland are being bullied. Add to that, struggles with achievement at school, and it’s nearly impossible to build confidence on their own.

Whether it’s bullying, low achievement, high pressure for better grades, or isolation, there’s no question that school is a challenge for many kids.

With a Big Sister at their side, girls don’t have to face these challenges alone. Having a Big Sister transforms what a Little Sister believes about herself—the core of her identity. By trying new things, engaging in new relationships, and questioning perspectives, each Little Sister learns to find her own voice and beliefs in a world that is continually trying to tell her who she is and how she should act.

And, research proves it. 96 percent of adults who had a mentor as a child say they’re happy and 92 percent feel confident.

For some kids that confidence comes from having fun in the community with an adult who is there just for them. For other kids confidence comes from improving academically, socially, and emotionally at school where they spend upwards of 40 hours per week.

The Big Sisters program is built on the foundation of regular outings based on common interests to build a trusted relationship. It’s not about homework.

So, how do we reach those girls who need a boost in confidence in their school work?

15 years ago, visionaries at Big Sisters recognized this gap as an opportunity to fill a significant need for emotional, social, AND academic support.

One such visionary was Patricia Shields who drew on her experience as a teacher and principal to help Big Sisters develop a rigorous and impactful program, which by the way is unique to our organization. Together with the Executive Director at the time, Her Honour, the Honourable Janet Austin, and her former Program Director, Shannon Newman Bennett, the Study Buddy program was developed.

And, we couldn’t have done it without founding partner, Raymond James, providing sustainable, ongoing funding, right from the start.

Their support allowed us to implement and plan for a long-lasting program, and, in 2006, we celebrated their impact by giving them a Big Heart Award. 

By leveraging the Big Sisters mentoring model, the weekly one-to-one Study Buddy mentoring program provides at-risk girls with positive role models who build long-term, empowering relationships. And, yeah, they work on homework too.

Do you know a female, transgender, or non-binary child aged seven to 17 who could use a caring adult to help them with their homework?

Please refer her/them to our program. We envision a world where every child who needs a mentor, has mentor.


Many, many thanks to Study Buddy founding partner