Community Spotlight

BGCBIGS has set a lofty goal in the form of a challenge to the community—for 100 men to step up and become mentors to children and youth in the Edmonton area.

The Goal

While the goal of the campaign seems simple—recruit one male mentor per day for 100 days—the purpose of this campaign is more far-reaching. We currently have a waitlist of over 700 young people waiting to be matched with a mentor; over half of those kids are boys and some of those boys are waiting up to 2 years for a mentor.

The 100 Men in 100 Days campaign aims to break down common misconceptions about what it means to be a mentor, such as:

  • “I need special skills or higher education”. False. Lived experience is just as important to a young person who just wants someone they can relate to.
  • “I need experience working with children or youth.” False. You just need to be willing to show up and be consistent. BGCBigs will provide mentors with training and support the whole way.
  • “I don’t have time to be a mentor.” False. Being a mentor means doing many things you’re already doing, such as playing board games, reading books, watching movies, playing sports, etc. but now you’ll enjoy them alongside a young friend.

Redefine the way you spend an hour

“We’re posing this challenge to men in our community specifically because so many men have the capacity to be awesome mentors but they don’t even realize it,” said Ian Amundson, Club Manager at BGCBigs. “I hear guys tell me all the time, ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I don’t have what it takes’ and I always respond by saying; ‘Did you play video games last week? Did you watch a hockey game last week? Did you play a sport or a board game or check out a cool attraction?’ The answer is always yes—so why not do all of those fun things you’re already doing anyway but with a buddy? Just for an hour per week! That’s all it takes to be a mentor—one hour a week to do something fun you were already going to do, but with a young person who needs you.”

We have a place for you

Whether it’s as a Club volunteer or as an in-school mentor, or as a mentor in a group setting sharing your love of sports, board games, hands-on projects, reading, movies and more—we have a place for you.

“Volunteering as an in-school mentor was an opportunity to re-experience my youth in a positive way. From reading books like Jeronimo Stilton, to spending time making a paper mâché volcano, it was as much fun for me [as it was for my mentee],” said Robert Markowski, former in-school mentor. “I know I felt pressure coming the first day, but when you realize your [mentee] is looking forward to spending time out of the classroom with someone that is just trying to help them with learning challenges, have some fun and develop a relationship, I really had nothing to worry about. With the small commitment of time each week, combined with BGCBigs’ [support] and the teacher setting everything up for me, it was an easy way to step into volunteering again.”

Be one of the 100

Rise to the challenge. Being a mentor isn’t complicated because it’s not about changing the future, just the moment.

Learn more about 100 Men in 100 Days by visiting our website at


At Volunteer Strathcona, we love learning about the amazing things being done by volunteers and community organizations in Strathcona County.  

In December we caught up with Tara Erickson, Program Director at the Strathcona County Community Mediation program (SCCM), to find out more about their volunteer program and impact in our community.

Did you know that SCCM can help neighbours, family members, and community organizations resolve disputes through FREE informal mediation?  We learned they have helped neighbours resolve parking disputes and disagreements about roosters (yes, roosters!), assisted separated parents communicate better about the activities their kids are participating in, and helped members of community organization Boards work out disagreements.

We also learned that SCCM can provide organizations with FREE workshops on topics such as effective communication and conflict resolution. This is a great benefit to organizations in helping staff, board members and/or volunteers agree on how they want to communicate with one another and approach conflict constructively!

There are many different ways volunteers can get involved in SCCM work – volunteers can become mediators, workshop facilitators, and/or case developers – or can support SCCM in other ways, like volunteering for casinos or joining their Board.  SCCM provides all the training needed – they are looking for good communicators who are empathetic and non-judgemental, and have a few hours a month to volunteer.

If you’d like more information about SCCM’s services and volunteer opportunities, check out their website or reach out to their Program Director, Tara Erickson at (