News & Stories

Harvard, Here I Come

When Rafael was just 7 years old, his family moved from the Philippines to Canada. They landed in Edmonton and Rafael started Grade 2 in September at McKee Elementary only knowing a few words of English. He struggled to keep up in class, and his reading and writing skills were understandably well below his grade level. He didn’t have any friends; kids in his class would make fun of him because he couldn’t understand them, and often he would sit in the corner and try not to cry. That’s when his teachers referred him to Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters (BGCBigs). By November that year, he had a mentor. Read more.

An Eye Opening Opportunity

I was a mentor with EXCEL for about two years while attending the University of Alberta until completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology.  During my time there, I worked with several students in grades 3 and 4, assisting them with Language Arts and Math.  In a typical day, I would spend about an hour working on homework with students, and then play board games or card games in the last 15 to 20 minutes of the session.  I found students really looked forward to the reward at the end of session, and it provided incentive for them to work hard. Read more.

Health & Happy Futures

I have been an In-School Mentor with BGCBIGS since 2011, and I have loved every minute of it. About 2 years after I first began, my good friend and fellow mentor, Mohit Kumar, created EXCEL. I was on board immediately; I found 1-on-1 mentoring to be valuable, but I knew that if a group of dedicated mentors could focus their efforts on a group of students; together, we could create the best experience possible. Read more.

Community-Led Service


“One of Edmonton Public Library’s goals is to grow literates and life skills in our community, which includes supporting youth in school completion and beyond. Following our Community-Led Service Philosophy, we connect and collaborate with individuals and groups to better understand the needs of our communities. This led to me connecting with the EXCEL program and meeting and discussing  ways the library could best support the students, and the mentors, in completing their homework and improving their learning skills. The library has a number of resources, both digital and physical, that help support school-aged children in their learning.  These resources are freely available – all you need is a library card (which is also free!).  It was a great opportunity to connect with a group that is trying to achieve the same goals for children that the library has.  It was obvious that the mentors have developed valuable relationships with their students and being able to share resources that can support those relationships is great.” – Camilla Fita, Community Librarian with Edmonton Public Library

An Opportunity To Share

We love getting feedback and hearing stories from straight from the mouths of our wonderful volunteers. Krista is a mentor in our EXCEL Program™ and she shared with us part of why she loves volunteering. Read more.

Award-winning volunteer wants to expand ‘flourishing’ after-school program

One of six “stars of Alberta” volunteer award winners is looking to expand his after-school mentorship program across the city. Read more.

A Place for Tutoring & Mentoring

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 presetThe EXCEL (Excite, Challenge, and Empower Learners Program) has grown tremendously since its inception in September 2013. EXCEL is a supervised after school homework program that supports kids from Grade One to Grade Six at McKee School who could benefit from additional support with their schoolwork. Each Wednesday throughout the school year, students get to meet up with EXCEL Program Mentors for tutoring and mentoring. “We were thrilled that EXCEL did so great this year,” says Brittney Hislop, BGCBigs Community… Read More.

Mentoring Students After School – Excite. Challenge. Empower.

IMG_0745Can you think of a place where you’d find a group of elementary students excited to work on their homework after school? We know of one – McKee School. Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters (BGCBigs) collaborated with McKee School to launch the Excite, Challenge, and Empower Learners (EXCEL) Program. EXCEL is a supervised after school homework program that supports kids from Kindergarten to Grade Six who struggle with their schoolwork. Though it’s only just finished its first … Read More.