Cultivating Change: BBBST’s ! Thrive Black Youth Mentoring Program and our commitment to addressing Anti-Black Racism

As we embrace the spirit of Black History Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto (BBBST) embarks on a profound journey.

BBBST’s commitment to addressing Anti-Black Racism arises from heartfelt testimonials and invaluable feedback received from Black Littles (mentees), their parents/guardians, and staff within the community. Their voices, filled with a desire for representation and understanding, resonated profoundly within the organization, acting as a catalyst for change.

Through shared stories and experiences, BBBST recognizes the importance to cultivate a more inclusive and supportive environment for Black youth. With a significant number of Black Littles engaging in our programs, the necessity for tailored programming and representation becomes apparent. This realization led to the creation of our ! Thrive Black Youth Mentoring Program (pronounced, I Thrive).

The ! Thrive Black Youth Mentoring Program, an initiative designed to provide specialized support and guidance to Black youth, emphasizes meaningful mentoring relationships with Black mentors. Addressing cultural and racial barriers while nurturing self-identity, this program ensures that Black youth feel empowered, valued, and seen within the community, facilitating an environment where they can thrive and reach their full potential.

In the midst of this transformative journey, Mark Harrison, BBBST’s Board Chair and Founder of MH3 Collective, expresses, “I am truly happy to be a part of BBBST’s mission to foster inclusion and equity. The organization has taken feedback from the community and proactively worked to build programming that supports Black communities. As Board Chair, it brings me joy to see BBBST take such steps to serve the people of Toronto.” Mark’s sentiment encapsulates the essence of collective efforts, with each step taken towards combating Anti-Black Racism and fostering diversity contributing to a brighter and more equitable future for all.

As we celebrate Black history this month, we reaffirm our commitment to creating spaces where every individual feels seen, heard, and valued. Acknowledging that real change begins with recognizing systemic barriers faced by Black communities, BBBST takes proactive steps to dismantle them. Through the implementation of our Anti-Black Racism Committee and the creation of the ! Thrive Black Youth Mentoring Program, BBBST addresses immediate needs while striving to create lasting structural change within the organization.

Thank you for joining BBBST on this journey of growth, reflection, and solidarity.

Thank you for joining BBBST on this journey of growth, reflection, and solidarity.