Big Bros Big Sis C-K showcase new offices

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Thanks to an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant, Big Brothers Big Sister Chatham-Kent has a fresh new space to work out of at the agency’s long-time location on Queen Street. Seated at the new boardroom table are from left, executive director Amanda Clark, caseworker Emily Van Hooste, program and development co-ordinator Holly Larivee, board member Sarah Burk, caseworker Paige Glasier and board president Bill Bisschop.

By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

“More inviting.”

That’s how Amanda Clark describes the recently completed renovation of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Chatham-Kent headquarters on Queen Street in Chatham.

“People come in and say they don’t know where they are,” the agency’s executive director said recently, adding the old office space was demolished and a new more client-friendly configuration created in its place.

Not only is the space more “homey,” said Clark, it’s also cleaner and more sanitary, now that the old carpet has been removed. A new heating and cooling unit was also installed.

“We learned during COVID that our office wasn’t set up for us to keep it properly sanitized,” she added. “This has made a big difference.”

The upgrade to the space was funded by way of a $136,000 Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund grant.

Jones said the generous grant “extends far beyond physical renovations” as it emphasizes the paramount importance of championing young individuals in the community.

Clarke said the impact of the grant cannot be overstated.

“This grant has allowed much-needed renovations to be made,” she said. “Our office space has opened to allow collaborative meetings, a safe client room, additional storage and updated utilities to ensure our space is as green as possible. Without this resiliency grant, none of this would have been possible.”

That’s good news for the local agency as the need for mentors is on the rise.

“Our waitlist is growing as we’ve had quite a few intakes recently,” Clark explained, adding volunteer mentors and new littles are always welcome.

In order to find out about becoming a Big Brother Big Sister or to have your child registered, paccess the website chathamkent.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca or call 519-351-1582.

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