September is Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) month and to celebrate the occasion the group has set its sights on 100 mentors for Ponoka’s children.
By the end of December, BBBS would like to see that number of matches for all of its mentoring programs, says program director Morgen Chernick. Those programs are:
· In-school mentoring where a match will visit a little brother or sister for one hour a week;
· Teen mentoring where students at Ponoka Secondary Campus in grades 10 to 12 will visit with a Ponoka Elementary School student one hour a week;
· Community-based mentoring where a big brother or sister meets with their match after school hours for a few hours per week.
At the time of the writing, Chernick said there were 17 kids looking for a match and she suggests the benefits to the children are worth the time. “It’s such a small commitment for such a huge change in the kids.”
One teen mentor from last year suggested she felt she had as much fun as the little sister visited week after week.
Since BBBS started in 1988, Chernick has seen the program come full circle where former little brothers and sisters are now becoming mentors to other children. She added that 100 per cent of students showed improvements in their behaviour and a more positive attitude to school.
Chernick added their self-confidence and self-esteem also showed similar improvement with the program.
BBBS is hosting a shrimp boil Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the Fire Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Chernick said this day is a great opportunity to meet mentors and their matches.