When you join the Big Sisters Legacy Circle and leave a gift in your Will, you ensure the continuation of our life-changing mentorship programs. It is an opportunity to give young, vulnerable girls a hand up and help them reach their fullest potential.
We chatted with one of our legacy givers, Carmen Thériault, about why she left a gift in her Will for Big Sisters. Carmen is a former Big Sister, an active member of our Honourary Advisory Board, last year’s Big Heart Award winner, and has been a long-time supporter of our organization. In 2015, she took on the task of building our Planned Giving Advisory Council, and has provided outstanding leadership in creating a culture of Planned Giving at Big Sisters. Here’s what she has to say.
Please talk briefly about your experience with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland.
I’ve been involved with Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland for about 10 years. Currently, I’m a member of its Honorary Advisory Board and I also Chair its Planned Giving Advisory Council.
Why are Big Sisters and its programs important. How do they ensure the success of young girls and strengthen communities in the Lower Mainland?
The mission of Big Sisters is to build the confidence, self-esteem, and wellbeing of girls through supportive relationships with female mentors. Girls face loads of challenges from poverty to bullying, abuse, social anxiety, and low self-esteem.
The work of Big Sisters revolves around mentoring, which can have such a powerful impact. Girls who are mentored are more likely to succeed scholastically, to continue on to post-secondary education, to be employed, and to earn higher wages. They are two times less likely to be depressed and to exhibit behaviour problems.
In 2017 alone, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland supported 819 girls. The positive outcomes affect not only those girls, but also their families, their schools, and their communities.
Why did you decide to make Big Sisters a beneficiary of your will?
The work that Big Sisters does is so important. I want to do what I can to help give the young girls in my community a hands up, to ensure they aren’t facing these challenges alone, and to help them realize their goals and potential.
When did you make this choice and what encouraged you to make it?
As I became more involved with Big Sisters, and saw what was being accomplished through its programs, the decision became very easy. I’m very happy to say that since the launch of the Big Sisters Legacy Circle in 2016, Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has received almost $200,000 in bequests.
Why might people consider donating to Big Sisters through planned giving, as opposed to some other way?
A gift in a Will can be a way to have significant impact without affecting your current financial situation. It can be very rewarding to know that when all is done, you will be leaving a legacy that will help the girls and families in your community in a very real way. Planned gifts can also help reduce taxes on death and can be directed towards specific programs such as the Big Sisters, Study Buddy or Go Girls! mentoring programs. It’s such a win/win approach to giving!