Young Canadians continue to face complex life circumstances and hardships such as poverty, bullying, unsafe communities, family violence, and poor mental health — difficulties that can be hard to navigate on their own without outside support.

“Mentoring can redirect these trajectories, effectively helping break vicious cycles of poverty, and support upward mobility,” says Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBS).

Numbers back up this statement. According to a study conducted by Boston Consulting Group in 2013 of recipients of the BBBS’s mentorship program, 63 percent had post-secondary education, 47 percent held senior leadership positions, and 13 percent had higher earnings than their counterparts, allowing kids to be productive, successful contributors to society.

But economics is not the only reason to support mentorship. According to this same study, 98 percent of BBBS mentorship recipients believe that they make good life choices, 92 percent are confident, and 96 percent say that they are happy.

And with a population of fulfilled adults comes healthy communities that benefit from the generosity of individuals who wish to give back to the community that supported them.

It was found that Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentees give 20 percent more to charities, and are 50 percent more likely to volunteer, and when they do, they spend 30 percent more of their time doing so — solid indicators of good citizens as defined by Canadians themselves.

It takes imagination and vision to see how far Canada’s youth can go. “Mentoring is not a nice-to-have, it is a need-to-have — especially if our goal is to empower and employ young people, and enhance the prosperity and productivity of our country,” says Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. “For success in today’s global economy, giving young people mentorship opportunities keeps them in school, enables them to find employment, and helps them be contributing, happy, and productive citizens — it gives them the confidence to achieve more.”

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