24, 2002, Gazette)
big sister had this little climbing the walls during a recent outing.
During the day, youre likely to find Gary Peddle counselling one
of his clients in the boardroom at his downtown law office, but during
the evening and on many weekends youre likely to find him volunteering
for one of the many organizations.
In addition to being a father, a full-time lawyer, and a part-time instructor
at the Faculty of Business Administration, Mr. Peddle (B.Comm 82,
MBA 85) is also the national president of Big Brothers Big Sisters
of Canada. The non-profit organization helps children between ages six
and 16 to reach their potential by matching them with an adult role model.
After an extensive four- to six-month screening process, an adult (big)
is paired with a child (little) with similar interests. As
part of the mentoring program, bigs are encouraged to spend a minimum
of three hours per week with their littles. However, Mr. Peddle says most
matches choose to spend more time together than that. Big Brothers Big
Sisters serves over 18,000 kids in Canada through 186 agencies.
I first got involved with Big Brothers
Big Sisters in 1991 when I was asked to help organize a golf tournament
for a group visiting from Toronto, he said. It was supposed
to be a one-time thing and 10 years later Im the organizations
The more I learned about the organization, the more I believed in
what it was doing. Its a great program that gives young people a
positive role model.
As national president, Mr. Peddle is involved primarily with setting organizational
policy and working to secure corporate sponsorships. However, he still
participates at the grassroots level of the program. Every week, he meets
with a young student over the lunch break, as part of an in-school mentoring
It helps me see how our programs really affect kids, he said.
For that one lunch hour a week, my little and I meet and chat and
play computer games. Its simple and pure and it keeps me connected
to the reason I joined the organization - to have a positive impact on
Littles typically come from single parent families and the program gives
them another adult role model.
Theyre not troubled kids, he said. Everyone needs
a positive influence in their lives, and the more role models a child
has, the more likely that child is to reach their own goals.
According to Mr. Peddle, approximately 60 per cent of the children in
the Big Brothers Big Sisters program break out of the social services
circle they grew up in and 30 per cent are more likely to go on to post-secondary
education than those children in the same socio-economic demographic who
are not in the program. Currently in Newfoundland, there are over 200
matches but there are still more than 150 children on the waiting list.
Being involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters can be very rewarding. A couple
of months ago, Mr. Peddle had the opportunity to have dinner with Wayne
Gretzky as part of a sponsorship role; however, the lasting rewards come
from lower profile meetings. Mr. Peddle said littles remind you
of whats really important in life, they enjoy doing simple things
like going to a hockey game or renting a movie.
They remind you how important it is to spend time with the people
you care about.