I’ve got a new gig, and like Wordfest, our organization builds community and changes lives. I am so proud to be the new CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, and we are all about mentoring; we match, train, and support mentoring relationships, and the youth we match are at the heart of everything we do. This is why I’ve put together a list of books that feature mentors, or the value of mentorship. I am so proud to collaborate with my teenage daughter, Ashlyn, to offer a list of books that speak to community, healthy relationships, and kindness. The beauty of mentorship is that both parties, the big and the little, benefit from the developmental relationship formed. BBBS Calgary is currently building a Literacy Strategy to underpin this work because we know that literacy is a protective factor that can support young people experiencing adversity in their journey to better resiliency. This strategy includes our Big Pen Pal program connecting young people and seniors through letter-writing and wee read and Read Up, two recently acquired volunteer-driven reading programs gifted to us by Calgary Reads so we can continue to grow our capacity in this important area of youth development.
– Ken Lima-Coelho
Ken Lima-Coelho is a passionate storyteller and connector with over 25 years of experience in broadcasting, brand and fund development, the arts and community-building. He is President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area, a charity devoted to helping kids succeed through mentorship. This builds on youth-serving experience he enjoyed previously as Vice President, Community Engagement for YMCA Calgary. A former journalist, Lima-Coelho is a well-known community emcee for numerous organizations including The Calgary Foundation, University of Calgary, Mount Royal University, Calgary Economic Development and the Calgary Stampede.
Currently a board director with The Calgary Foundation, and a member of the Foundation’s Grants Committee., he also volunteers as a board director with cSPACE Projects and Honens, and is a founding member of the Calgary Chamber’s first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
In June 2020, he received The Calgary Award for Community Advocate – Individual from The City of Calgary. In his spare time, Lima-Coelho is a founding member of the well-known comedy a cappella group The Heebee-jeebees, a husband, and the father of two cool kids.
Ashlyn Lima-Coelho is a Grade 8 student at Calgary Girls Charter School. With a passion for literacy, particularly reading to young children, Ashlyn started a private YouTube channel during the pandemic to read picture books to kids online. She recently started volunteering in person for the Calgary Public Library’s Reading Buddies program. She also loves performing with Youth Singers of Calgary, dancing with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Youth Training Program and like her Dad, volunteering in her community.