Big Brothers and Sisters of Greater Montreal
Black'n Role seeks to foster, establish and maintain a long-lasting relationship between Black youth and Black adult mentors. The project is a series of 10 workshops designed to encourage youth to make proper nutritional choices, promote physical activity and to implement tools to achieve positive well-being. It's a simple and cost effective program that promotes the importance of building and nurturing healthy relationships.
As a whole, the Black community struggles in Montreal due to racial inequalities, linguistic differences and barriers. The population of the community has diminished over the years. Thus, it's small and not as relatively tight-knit as it once was. Black'n Role is bridging the gap through mentorship and workshops that promote inclusiveness, collaboration, acceptance and social advocacy.
Black'n Role focuses on bridging the gap between the English-speaking Black community and the rest of the Montreal community. This means providing a safe space for at-risk youth to learn, develop and grow. To integrate within the society by learning and mastering the official language, customs and values, while learning and sharing their own history, Black History, in order to demystify racial prejudice and stereotypes.
All Blacks have had to struggle with the lack of social acceptance, lack of youth employment, underemployment, being diverse within the community and negative consequences of racism in the city. These issues are particularly damaging to the communities' youth. The main issues and problems that the Black'n Role program wanted to address were to create better support systems for children, to address and raise awareness towards the alleviation of poverty within the Black community, to provide Black role models (especially male role models to youth), to implement and advocate for services that are culturally sensitive and relevant and to promote the importance of physical and mental health.
Making a Difference:
In 2015 alone, Black'n Role programs were offered to over 80 students in 10 schools across the Greater Montreal area. The mentorship relationships that are formed between the child and the mentor have had a significant impact on the child's confidence and self-esteem, resulting in better academic results, scholarships, better relationship with peers, increased levels of happiness and well-being and an increase in pursuing post-secondary education.
The program has exceeded expectations and is in high demand. One major challenge is to convince adults within the Black community to view this as an investment into the future of a greater and better society. Another challenge the program faces is a lack of advertising and a lack of partnerships within the Black community.
Vision for the Future:
Black'n Role hopes to empower youth locally, to foster a desire for social advocacy and the implementation of change, to promote and encourage learning on a daily basis , while raising awareness about the importance of physical and mental well-being. In addition, we hope to offer our school-based programs to over 450 students by the end of 2020.
For the 2015-2016 school year, we were able to impact 80 students across 10 school across the island of Montreal.
About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal.
BBBSGM collaborates with various partners, parents, schools, volunteers and health care professionals with the ultimate goal of empowering youth to achieve their personal, academic and professional goals. With the help of our contributors, we believe that every child should have the opportunity to grow into responsible, engaged and proactive citizens in society. Through our various projects and programs in the community and schools, the welfare and development of our youth are at the heart of all our interventions.