Big Brothers recruiting mentors

“(My mentor) helped me to learn how to read new words.” — Skyler, 11

Heather Patterson

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

An hour a week makes a difference in the lives of children involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BB/BS) program, says Heather Patterson, an in-school mentor. The commitment is one hour per week and it’s a commitment she can handle.

“You can play in the gym, you can play outside or do crafts, and the schools are really supportive,” Patterson said.

She said from the principal down to the janitor of the school she goes to, there has been support and acknowledgment for her work.

BB/BS program director Morgan Chernick said the positive change she sees in the children is more than the mentors realize. How BB/BS interviews volunteer mentors is designed to make good matches. The goal is to give a solid foundation to the kids, and a good match makes a better experience for both. Chernick said as long as she has been director they have not had anybody mismatched.

“(Patterson) helped me to learn how to read new words,” said Skyler, 11, who has been in the program with Patterson for three years.

Skyler explains how much he looks forward to seeing his mentor every week and how happy it makes him, “She makes me smile.”

Patterson started as a mentor for Skyler when he was in Grade 1 and he is now entering Grade 4. She has enjoyed seeing Skyler’s personal growth over the years and sees how excited he gets when she comes for her weekly visit. Patterson said most of the services in the school are available to her and Skyler.

Kids are willing to try new things, Patterson said of the positive development of a mentor. Also a mother, she enjoys filling in any missing gaps with Skyler.

Patterson used to work with BB/BS volunteering in their Big Bunch program. When there are more kids than mentors, kids are brought together and volunteers plan trips and events with the bunch. Chernick said this is part of the traditional program where mentors usually do things for three or four hours a week. Sometimes a mentor and their charge, with support from BB/BS, will transition to this program once they feel they have outgrown the in school program.

Chernick said Big Brothers/Big Sisters need mentors in all Ponoka schools and they also invite more men to the program. They are working hard to reach their goal of adding 20 new mentors in September.

Just Posted

Big Valley captures Ponoka Lions tournament title

Ponoka’s Medcor Misfits just edged out in B event championship

Calgary Stampede tough on area cowboys

A new buckle was simply not in the cards for some local… Continue reading

Wet conditions hampering haying efforts

Crops throughout central Alberta doing decently for now

New support line available for Alberta farmers

AgSafe Alberta hotline there to help navigate new farm rules and regulations

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

RCMP investigating alleged ‘sexual misconduct’ by cyclist on BCIT campus

BCIT said they were reviewing video evidence of the incident

Graphic suicide scene edited out of ‘13 Reasons Why’ finale

Suicide prevention groups support the decision

People’s Party of Canada makes a stop in Ponoka

Maxine Bernier speaks at Ponoka Legion

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Most Read