Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph is grateful for the many supporters we have in the community and the support we receive from foundations in the province and nationally. The Klein-Panneton Foundation is being recognized in our April spotlight for their continued support and passion they share for BBBSG’s mission.

We originally connected with the Klein-Panneton Foundation when one of their officers, Kristoph, enrolled as a Big Brother in our One-to-One program and was matched with Nathaniel. The relationship they developed made a huge impact on both of them, and their connection has lasted beyond the scope of their participation in our programming. Kristoph and Nathaniel shared their story at our 2019 Have a Heart For Kids’ Sake Gala and we consider them one of our greatest success stories!

During his tenure as a Big Brother, Kristoph connected us with the family foundation that he is a part of, the Klein-Panneton Foundation. Since that time, they have been an enduring supporter of our mentoring programs and a huge influence on the lives of so many children in the Guelph community! It is clear to us that the entire Klein-Panneton family is devoted to the well-being of our community in general and of the children in particular, and we are grateful that they continue to partner with us to deliver mentoring support to youth that desperately need it.

We reached out to the Klein-Panneton Foundation to share their story with us; Natasha Klein-Panneton, another foundation officer and Kristoph’s sister, was more than happy to provide us with their side.

Can you tell us a little bit of how you started getting involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guelph?

About a decade ago, one of our family members started participating in the BBBS Guelph as a mentor. The relationship he built with his little brother had a significant and positive influence on both. Witnessing how powerful and impactful this experience was inspired our family foundation to begin making financial contributions to BBBS’ programs.

What do you think Big Brothers Big Sisters does well?

BBBS plays a key role in offering additional support for youth that enables them to learn, connect and thrive. BBBS also empowers individuals to give back to their community and share their gifts.

How does Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mission and activities match with your giving priorities?

BBBS matches with our own giving priorities in that it strikes a balance between meeting the current needs of communities in Guelph while also engaging in longer term community building and empowerment. BBBS’ life-changing mentoring relationships provides opportunities for youth to develop the skills and values needed in shaping a socially and environmentally just future.

Why is mentoring important to you?

As a family, we think mentoring is important because it can act as the catalyst for young people to realize their full potential. Mentoring can assist us in leveraging the lessons learned by others to help guide us through decisions we don’t yet fully understand the impact of. Having a different perspective from a mentor can also be helpful in better understanding one’s situation, motivations and options moving forward.

What were the most important lessons you learned from your personal role models and mentors?

That it’s okay to ask for help and accept support, and that the process of asking for help is full of opportunities for learning and growth. To first identify and acknowledge our needs and limitations requires a desire to know ourselves and a humility to accept that we aren’t perfect. There is then the beautiful, vulnerable and sometimes uncomfortable process of asking for help: whether we are asking for help from someone who is close to us or someone we don’t know as well that is part of our community, workplace or school. In the act of asking for help, we give the opportunity for others to show their care and support, and signal to those around us that they can also ask for help when they need it.

Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for Big Brothers Big Sisters?

The positive impact you bring to people’s lives will be felt for generations, thank you!