The Ponoka Youth Centre has found ways for businesses and youths to connect in meaningful ways. Here Battle River Insurance - The Co-operators staff have found fulfillment and motivation being part of the program. In the picture (l-r) are Sara Dennis, Luke Sperber, Greg Braat and Dana Schultz. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka’s Big Brothers Big Sisters’ in-school mentoring is working

The Ponoka Youth Centre is finding meaningful ways to connect with businesses and youths

Mentors with Ponoka’s Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program are finding motivation in their professional lives by being part of the in-school mentoring program.

One such example is Battle River Insurance – The Co-operators staff who made the conscious decision to join Ponoka’s program. It’s a decision that has found more benefits than expected.

Owner Greg Braat has been with the program since mid-September 2017. “I’m a real proponent of my staff doing volunteer work,” said Braat.

It’s a one hour commitment every week for staff, and Braat pays his staff during that time. Most of the office staff were able to commit and Braat is finding some personal growth out of mentoring.

“Any kind of support for kids that are lacking…it’s huge,” said Braat.

There’s a balance, he says, between mentoring and guiding but also being a friend to that little brother or sister.

“We have a blast together and he gets to choose what we do,” said Braat.

With staff taking part in the program there’s an opportunity to bond and discuss all that’s happened, plus see successes within the process.

“It just feels good to give,” said Braat.

As fate would have it, Braat’s little brother has a sibling who is a little brother to Luke Sperber, associate financial advisor at Battle River Insurance.

They’re able to find connections that weren’t originally anticipated.

“For me going in, it was nerve wracking,” said Sperber, who said that one hour of mentoring is a lot more fun than he expected.

“You don’t realize how much of a difference you make,” he added.

Since starting he’s been told by the school that it’s been a night and day change.

For Sara Dennis, associate insurance advisor, it’s been a fun experience. Her little brother is in Grade 6 and she found connecting a lot easier than expected.

“He keeps me really active,” she joked, pointing out that playing soccer, basketball and volleyball gives her a bit of a workout.

Dennis’ little brother also has a sibling brother that Dana Schultz, client support representative, is a big sister to. “I find it rewarding. My little brother is really outgoing and he’s got a very strong personality,” said Schultz.

After a few weeks, he started to open up. “We really formed a friendship,” she added.

For BBBS program co-ordinator, Morgen Chernick, she’s grateful to see involvement from Ponoka’s corporate side of things. Among the other businesses that take part in the program are ATB Financial, Servus Credit Union, Ponoka News, Ponoka FCSS, Ponoka Chrysler and the Ponoka Youth Centre.

BBBS has in-school mentoring at all the elementary schools, as well as Mecca Glen and Crestomere schools.

Just Posted

Alberta judge cleared in case where sex assault victim was shackled, jailed

Judicial council: Judge Raymond Bodnarek acted on Crown’s advice, tried to minimize victim’s hardship

Breton/Thorsby RCMP investigate theft of boat

RCMP say stolen jet boat and trailer valued at approximately $80,000

Judicial council finds no misconduct by Alberta judge of Aboriginal sex assault victim

Hearing after complaints of alleged poor treatment of woman with pseudonym Angela Cardinal

Wetaskiwin liquor store robbed Feb. 21

Two suspects arrested after store employee threatened with bear spray

Town of Ponoka to hand over fire services to county

Council voted unanimously to have the county take over May 1. County meets Thursday morning

WATCH: Ponoka Warriors volleyball host largest ever Family Day tournament

Five divisions, 32 teams participate in 12th annual Family Day tournament

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Concert-goers unfazed by Hedley sexual misconduct allegations

Frontman Jacob Hoggard thanked fans from the ‘bottom of our hearts’ at Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre

WATCH: RBC Training Ground searching for next great Canadian Olympian

100 local athletes test their speed, endurance and strength

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Trudeau ends troubled India trip in his comfort zone of hockey and youth

The players, 18-25, came to New Delhi from Ladakhi in northern India, as part of outreach program

Team Canada’s Dave Duncan apologizes after drunken joyride in Pyeongchang

Duncan, his wife Maja and Canadian technical coach William Raine detained by South Korean police

Most Read