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Big Brothers Big Sisters Chatham-Kent fosters individual and group mentoring relationships with the goal of helping local youth reach their full potential.

When COVID hit, and all of the local children Big Brothers Big Sisters serve had to stay indoors, the organization had to start thinking outside the box.

Inspired by similar programs run by the municipality and local organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters decided to start delivering activities boxes to local residents.

At first, they received funding through a government COVID-19 response program but eventually, those funds ran out.

“We thought ‘What are we going to do’ – it had been so successful. Kids were looking forward to it and it was helping so much,” said Casework Program Manager, Amanda Clark.

It seemed like serendipity when Xplornet reached out to ask about sponsorship opportunities.

“We were able to keep the program going for three more months. It’s been just amazing.”

Anyone in Chatham-Kent can sign up for the program which delivers 100 boxes per month to participating families including ingredients, craft supplies, toys, gift cards, and instructions. Families then follow along with videos produced and posted online by Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Online Coordinator, Logan McQueen.

These videos are all accessible on the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ YouTube channel.

“It’s something we wouldn’t be able to continue doing without Xplornet,” Amanda said.

She says the program has been essential in helping local children cope with mental health issues, general loneliness, depression, and just plain not having anything to do.

“They’ve lost so much since the pandemic hit. This gives them something to take their mind away from it and bring themselves back to what really matters, family time,” she said.

The program has also helped Big Brothers Big Sisters bridge the gap with rural families in the community. In the past, they weren’t aware that Big Brothers Big Sisters offered services to rural people.

“Just over half of the activity boxes get delivered to the really remote, rural areas. Chatham is a hub and there are so many communities all around. And we deliver the boxes, so they don’t even have to leave their home,” she said.

Candace is one of those rural people. She and her family have been using their Xplornet Internet connection to follow along with Logan’s activity videos.

“Xplornet service has been a huge asset with these boxes because we need to able to watch the how-to videos and play the online games,” she said.

Candace is grateful for the service she’s received throughout the pandemic.

“Xplornet has been great to us. I called about the unlimited data because with the online schooling and these boxes, we were always getting close to our data limit. They helped me, no problem at all, on the phone for maybe 10 minutes and everything was switched in about an hour. Now we don’t have to worry. We can just enjoy it,” she said.

Candace and her family have been with Xplornet for almost 8 years.

“Not once have we had an issue. The speed has been good. No complaints and I would definitely recommend it to others,” she said.

We couldn’t be happier to hear Candace is pleased with her service and that her family has been able to enjoy Big Brothers Big Sisters’ incredible work.

“Thanks to all the hardworking folks at Big Brothers Big Sisters, great sponsors like Xplornet, and all the families that have signed up their kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been able to deliver COVID relief in the form of FUN to hundreds in the community,” Logan said.

For more information about the great work that Big Brothers Big Sisters is doing in Chatham-Kent visit their website at https://chathamkent.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/.

And, for more information about Xplornet’s services contact us at 1-866-601-0021.