Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County have officially launched a new program aimed at LGBTQ2I+ youth in our community.
WOODSTOCK - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oxford County have officially launched a new program aimed at LGBTQ youth in our community.
The Pride, Respect, Identity, Safety and Mentoring or Prism program will match self identifying LGBTQ2IA+ youth in our community with an adult mentor who also identifies as LGBTQ2IA+. The Ontario Trillium Foundation was on hand to congratulate BBBS on the work done to bring the new program to Oxford County after receiving a $154,900.00 OTF Grow grant over three years to hire PRISM caseworker Amanda Smyth.
Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman offered up his support for the program through a statement in the official press release.
"Big Brothers Big Sisters in Oxford have such a positive impact on the lives of so many young people in our community. This Ontario Trillium Foundation grant will help create a more inclusive and engaged community in Oxford, and help even more of our youth to reach their full potential."
Executive Director of BBBS Oxford Kristen Ralph says PRISM will foster pride and self confidence, while creating inter-generational connections within the LGBTQ2IA+ community.
“This grant has allowed Big Brothers Big Sisters in Oxford County to ensure a child or youth is provided a safe place to explore their identities, create an empowering relationship with a mentor and connect to the LGBTQ2IA+ community in Oxford County.”
Research shows that formal mentoring programs are a powerful, protective factor for this demographic as they develop their own unique sense of self. Volunteer mentors are always extensively screened and properly trained before they are matched.
Ralph says that Each match receives the ongoing support of a professional caseworker through Big Brothers Big Sisters .
“This investment by the Ontario Trillium Foundation enabling us to hire a PRISM caseworker is great news for LGBTQ2IA+ children and youth in Oxford County, who currently have few resources available to help guide them along their journey.”