The month of September not only signals back to school time but it also is Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) month.
Ponoka’s BBBS have had an active role in the community bringing mentoring programs to Ponoka’s youths, explained program director Morgen Chernick. She’s advocating for the group and bringing awareness about the programs offered.
Besides the traditional community mentoring program there is also the popular in-school mentoring where a mentor takes one hour out of their week to hang out with a little brother or sister. “I love seeing the relationships and the friendships built and developed.”
“They just have someone in their life who is there for them. Who is there to spend some time with them.”
According to Ponoka’s BBBS, youths are seeing improvements in their interpersonal relationships, self-esteem and self-confidence improvements and they are showing better behaviour in their attitude towards school.
Businesses in the community have started to embrace the in-school mentoring program, which has 75 matches and a goal of 10 more by the end of September.
Several businesses in town allow their staff to mentor during the work day. There are other benefits to the community and businesses with this program, suggests Chernick: Greater consumer loyalty, better customer relations, increased job performance and staff motivation, improved public image and enhanced workplace morale.
To highlight the program BBBS Canada also launched a social media campaign using the hashtag #MentoringMatters. For Ponoka, Chernick says the schools will have a strong need for mentors as there is already a list of 43 youths being referred to the program and more to come.
A shrimp boil fundraiser has been launched for Ponoka’s BBBS and is set for Sept. 21 at the Ponoka Fire Hall from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information on the fundraiser or to become a mentor call Chernick at 403-783-3112.