September is Big Brothers Big Sisters month (BBBS) and we are asking Ponoka citizens to imagine who a young person can become when they have the support of a caring mentor in their lives.
Currently, BBBS of Ponoka has over 40 youth waiting for an in-school mentor. The in-school mentoring program matches an adult or teen mentor with a youth at a local school. The matches then meet for one hour a week and can play games, make crafts, cook, play sports and enjoy spending time together.
Volunteering for only one hour a week can change the course of a young life. One student who had an in-school mentor last year said, “My mentor makes me feel special when I am in a bad mood, he has taught me how to ask for help and he listens to me.”
Surveyed teachers who had students involved in the in-school mentoring program last year observed that the youth had a better attitude towards school, were willing to try new things, had better attendance at school and more positive social interactions.
One local school teacher stated, “I think it is a fantastic program and so important for the students who we feel need and benefit from the program! It can make such an important impact in a child’s life. Students are so excited on mentor days and you can see the difference in behaviour, awareness of feelings and sense of belonging.”
Many local businesses and organizations such as Ponoka News, Ponoka Chrysler, ATB Financial, Ponoka FCSS, Ponoka County, Servus Credit Union and BMO support the in-school mentoring program, allowing their staff to mentor during the work day.
Not only do the mentees and mentors derive benefit from participating in the in-school mentoring program, but so do the participating businesses. They experience increased brand appeal, improved customer perception of their business, increased connection to the community and improved employee morale.
To celebrate Big Brothers Big Sisters month, BBBS of Ponoka is holding its annual Shrimp Boil lunch on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at the Ponoka Youth Centre from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Join BBBS of Ponoka and enjoy a $7 shrimp boil lunch, meet some matches, tour the facilities and find out how you can become a mentor. To pre-order your lunch or for more information, call 403-783-3112.