Every child who needs a mentor – has a mentor.
It’s the goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saint John, but despite its straightforward premise, achieving it can be difficult. The biggest hurdle is recruiting enough volunteers to serve on the board of directors and work as mentors with children in the community.
“Recruiting volunteers is a key for us,” said Laurie Collins, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saint John. “Not only do we need strong volunteers to spend time with the children, but at the board level as well. If you’ve got a strong foundation in your board of directors, everything runs more effectively.”
This is where the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Co-Op Fellowships in Business come in. The unique program – made possible through a $75,000 gift from one of the world’s leading accounting firms – offered at the University of New Brunswick Saint John helped the organization’s recruitment drive by pairing them with business administration student Armardeep Singh for a work term.
Like many not-for-profit organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Saint John has limited resources. Armardeep was the extra set of hands it needed as he took on a variety of projects, most notably creating recruitment plans for both the board of directors and mentors.
“It was a great experience for us and a tremendous help,” Laurie said of Armadeep’s time with the organization. “We need volunteers and to have someone work on projects specific to this has really made a big difference.”
PricewaterhouseCoopers Co-Op Fellowships in Business have been putting together students with not-for-profit organizations in the community for the past five years. Because of the success of the program, PricewaterhouseCoopers has agreed to partner with UNB for another five years through a generous donation of $75,000.
“We wanted to help make a difference within the local community and saw this as an excellent way to connect the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders with our local not-for-profit sector” said Simon Kent, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “The success of this program over the past five years has exceeded our expectations and we’re extremely proud to be able to continue to support this program going forward.”
The PricewaterhouseCoopers Co-Op Fellowships in Business helps UNB achieve two goals from its strategic plan. The first is to provide an exceptional and transformative student experience. The PwC Co-Op Fellowships in Business does this by being no ordinary work placement. Students make meaningful contributions to their employers by creating marketing plans, organizing fundraisers and developing social media strategies and policies, among other projects. The second goal is building a better province. By having students work with not-for-profit community partners, it helps provide a much needed resource for organizations dedicated to improving their communities and, by extension, the province. A total of 16 organizations have taken part in the program including Vibrant Communities, Symphony New Brunswick, Canadian Cancer Society, P.R.O. Kids and the Animal Rescue League, among others.
“UNB takes its commitment to New Brunswick as seriously as its commitment to student development,” said UNB president Eddy Campbell. “We’re pleased to continue partnering with PricewaterhouseCoopers on a program that enriches both the community it aims to serve as well as the students who participate in it. We very much appreciate PricewaterhouseCoopers’ support in enhancing our students’ academic experience and in making this type of valuable community work possible.”
UNB Saint John