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It’s all love at the annual Valentine’s breakfast for Big Brothers Big Sisters West Island

Emilie Battet and Mikey Vanin have known each other for almost two years now, but given all the time they’ve spent together, it feels longer.

The pair met in 2022 through Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Island.

After they were matched, they started hanging out weekly and have been ever since.

“He keeps me on my toes,” said Battet. “When we go out, we have a lot of fun. He’s really like my little brother, he’s like family now.”

That bond is all thanks to the Big Brothers mentoring program, where youth get matched with a role-model and friend to talk and share experiences with.


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“Restaurants, iSaute, I went to a barn, where there were horses and got to ride them,” said Vanin.

The organization says its currently in need of volunteers like Emily, to be matched with young mentees.

“I would say that we’re in constant need of volunteers because there’s obviously turnover at all times and we get new requests all the time. So that’s an ongoing need, particularly in respect to male volunteers,” said Valentino Pietrantonio, Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Island Executive Director.

And so fundraisers, like the organization’s annual Valentine’s day breakfast that took place Wednesday morning goes a long way in raising awareness.

Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill in Dorval opens up extra early and staff volunteer their time to serve up a breakfast buffet to diners, in exchange for a donation to the organization.

“We’re a family oriented restaurant, we’re fun, it’s a fun atmosphere, kids love it here and we just want to give back to the community,” said Stacy Kertzer, Jack Astor’s Bar Manager.

Local vendors were also set up in the restaurant, selling special valentine treats.

While hundreds of guests, including local politicians, came by to support the cause and encourage people to get involved with the organization.

“You can only change a life by doing this and the bond that’s created from that is life changing but it lasts forever as well.”

If you’d like to donate or sign up to become a mentor, you can do so by going on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Island website.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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