Celebrate 100 years of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) in Canada with a barbecue fundraiser at the Ponoka Fire Hall.
BBBS in Ponoka is holding its annual fundraiser Sept. 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each year the group raises money through a community barbecue and informs the public on becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister.
“Probably one of most successful mentoring programs is our site-based mentoring program,” says Morgen Chernick, program director.
Last year BBBS added youth mentors to work with younger students and 15 high school students in grades 10 to 12 from Ponoka Secondary Campus joined their ranks. Chernick hopes to increase the number of youth mentors to 25.
The staff at Big Brothers are also mentors and many Ponoka businesses allow time for employees to have an hour of mentoring at schools in the Ponoka area.
“The community is really seeing the benefits of the program and the needs of the program. And it’s so easy to do,” she added.
There is a thorough screening process to ensure children’s safety but Chernick suggests the best way to know what being a mentor is like is to come into the BBBS offices and start the application process.
Chernick works to ensure children are paired with a mentor who matches their interests. After a match is made the Big Brother or Big Sister will come to the school for an hour to hang out. Usually a pair will play games, do a craft or play a sport, says Chernick. There is no set activity.
At the end of June BBBS had 66 mentors but Chernick wants to see the number grow to 100 in celebration of the organization’s centennial. “I anticipate that number increasing over the fall.”
Burgers, hot dogs, chips and a pop will be on sale at the barbecue.
The WestJet raffle winner
Andrew Middleton has been announced as the West Jet winner in the raffle that BBBS was selling over the summer. He received two tickets to anywhere the airline flies.