By: Cindy McQuirter-Fairley

I had a blessed childhood; I grew up in a home where I knew I was loved and was supported unconditionally. My parents had the time and energy to lend an ear when I needed to talk and help guide me as I matured into adulthood. I wanted to help give even a little of that love to children who may not be as fortunate as I was. 

In my 25 years with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Simcoe (BBBSNS), I have been a Big Sister, a board member, and am now involved in the In-School Mentoring program. I have met first- hand the young people who find BBBSNS an essential part of their life. Mom and/or Dad work crazy shifts to make ends meet – and sometimes they don’t meet or there is only one parent struggling to do the job of two. As a parent now, I understand how fortunate I was and that while my parents made it look easy, all parents need help from time to time. Intentional mentors are there to hold the energy or the extra support for young people; working as a team with parents and our agency to provide these young people with the best possible outcomes for their future. 

Essential is a word that is being used frequently these days; somethings are obviously essential needs like food, shelter, & medicine, but what about the essentials that are not so obvious? For some, it’s a privilege to receive or have received what would be considered “developmental essentials” such as having someone express care for you, challenge your growth, provide you with support, share say with you, and help you expand your possibilities. While that phrasing may not be as familiar to you, having friendships, people who served as a confidant, an emotional support, provided a different view on the world, and really were champions for us, likely are. However you see it, it is these Developmental Essentials that help young people grow into strong, valuable, essential members of our community.  They are the building blocks of our future.  That is why I have volunteered with BBBSNS for the past 25 years.

All young people deserve to be listened to, to be offered new perspective, and made to feel important. Parents, our agency, and mentors come together to do that, during normal times and the unfamiliar. So, while it may not seem obvious, Intentional Mentorship is essential and why I am ready and determined to equip our Littles for the challenges that face everyone in our new normal.