The Big Sisters Putting Kids First Before Anyone Else

The Big Sisters Association (1914-1966) was the original name of YouthLink. During that time span, the Big Sisters Association created several initiatives to keep youth happy and keep them in a good environment.

The Big Sisters Association has always put the lives of young girls before anybody else. A problem they face sometimes are parents who do not think of their kids as number 1 in their lives or parents who do not allow their kids to celebrate Christmas. As a result, the Big Sisters have come up with a lot of initiatives including getting gifts for kids on Christmas and providing counselling for teenage girls.

Children’s Importance to the Big Sisters

A problem Big Sisters commonly faced was finding an environment that a kid can succeed in. Dr. Blatz went into detail in one specific case about a child’s needs not being met. For example, a girl who is 11 years’ old was placed in several foster homes. They found that the parents were unfit to take care of the girl as she had put her husband and sons before her own adopted daughter.

Dr. Blatz Article on Children’s Happiness Big Sisters Article Feb 1928

In his speech, Dr. Blatz said that children should always come first. He states that it is the parents’ responsibility to put their children before themselves and protect them. The Big Sisters believes in this statement as they do their best to make the girls smile and be happy with Christmas.

Big Sister’s Impact on Christmas

When the Big Sisters was around, parents were not encouraging kids to celebrate or talk about Christmas. The Big Sisters of Metropolitan Toronto thought this was wrong, partly because Christmas should be a day of celebration for children. The Big Sisters Association saw Christmas as something that could bring a smile to a kid’s face and helped several girls in Toronto (Real Big Sisters).

The Big Sisters put a lot of effort and time for girls to get their Christmas gifts. According to Miss A. L. Brock “Our girls range in age from eight to eighteen.” There were 233 different presents made for each girl individually. These presents were delivered individually in a gift wrap. An example would be Treasure Island, which was a “skating set” done by the Big Sisters Association for a girl. The Big Sisters Association would not stop there though and gave several presents to a school in Toronto.

Big Sisters Give Christmas Party to Vocational School Girls Article 1927

In 1927, the Big Sisters Association had a Santa Claus deliver presents to three hundred girls from the Edith L. Groves Vocational School for Girls on Dovercourt Road. It was a massive undertaking by the Big Sisters Association who helped several girls on Christmas.

The Big Sisters made a conscious effort to help girls celebrate Christmas. They also promoted Christmas and were partly responsible for making parents and kids alike understand what the spirit of Christmas was all about.

The Big Sisters also helped kids in other parts of the year, specifically in counselling, something that is seen even to this day as the Big Sisters are now called YouthLink.

Big Sisters Counselling and Volunteer Work

In one year, the Big Sisters helped 461 girls in Toronto (Big Sisters Work Aids Little Sisters). They helped uncles, aunts, parents, and grandparents when confronted with girls facing teenager problems. These acts according to General Secretary, Miss Annie L. Brock, increased trust with parents and guardians of the Big Sisters Association. This legacy of helping teenagers has lived on and has been expanded to help teenage boys as well.

Big Sisters’ Work Aids Little Sisters Article Feb 1928

The Big Sisters also did volunteer work throughout the city of Toronto. The Big Sisters would talk to little girls and give them regular big sisterly acts. This selflessness can be seen in Pathways to Education Scarborough Village. This program by YouthLink helps youth get educated and give them a pathway to post-secondary education. An alarming percentage of almost 1/3rd of students do not graduate from high school. This program is trying to change that as almost 400 high school students have been helped by YouthLink. Also, like Big Sisters, this program requires the support and help of volunteers to serve high school students and help them get to post-secondary education.

Lastly, the Big Sisters took 79 girls in the spring and early summer months for a picnic and gave them a nice day. This gives kids a good environment to enjoy and not worry about personal problems that might have affected their lives at that time.

Big Sister’s Impact on Young Girls

In one year, the Big Sisters helped 461 girls in Toronto. This includes giving gifts on Christmas or letting 79 kids enjoy a picnic, or helping kids find counselling (Big Sisters Work Aids Little Sisters).

The volunteer workers of Big Sisters were at work showing sympathy and helping little girls. They also helped with counselling for teenage girls. These acts according to General Secretary, Miss Annie L. Brock, increased trust with parents and guardians of the Big Sisters Association.

This trust can be seen today as YouthLink are also helping kids with the Pathway to Education for high school students living in the Scarborough Village. Furthermore, the legacy of counselling can be seen in YouthLink today as they help vulnerable youth each day with their troubles and problems.

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, our What’s Up Walk-In services are now being offered online through video-conferencing. We know this is a stressful time for everyone, and we want you to be able to continue to access our counsellors and clinicians in a safe and secure way so we are now offering you online video-conferencing counselling and support.


Our E-Counselling What’s Up Walk-In service will be open Monday – Friday until further notice. If you would be interested in booking one of our daily video-conferencing appointments for a counselling or support session with a clinician, call 416-967-1773 extension 222 and you will be connected to our Intake department. E-Counselling and support is also available for many of our other programs. Intake staff can provide you with more information if you are interested.


Although many of our staff are temporarily working off-site, all of our housing and residential programs continue to operate as usual.