Making a difference through mentoring

  • Sep. 15, 2010 7:00 p.m.

By Dale Cory

One day a week — for just one hour a week.

That’s all that is required to make a difference in a child’s life.

Ponoka Big Brothers Big Sisters has kicked off its In-School Mentoring Program for another school year, and is looking for adults who can help make a difference in a child’s life.

“The program is geared toward children from kindergarten all the way up to Grade 12, and it’s set up to provide a positive adult-youth relationship for students who may not necessarily have that positive adult or mentor in their life. We look at the child’s interests when we make the matches. If they really enjoy active sorts of things, we match them according to an adult who would benefit from that,” explained Morgen Chernick with Ponoka Big Brothers Big Sisters, who says all activities take place on school grounds.

“It’s not limited to one type of activity or another. We give them activity bins, and in it there’s books and games and crafts, so they get to choose from that. It’s all based on whatever the child feels like that day.”

For a mentor who gets involved in the program, the commitment is for one hour a week — same day, same time each week. The school will work with each mentor to accommodate scheduling.

“We want volunteers who like kids. You’ve got to love kids. You’ve got to be happy, bubbly and enthusiastic. The sky is the limit,” says Chernick, “And we are very thorough in screening all of our volunteers.”

Mentors are interviewed. Criminal and police checks are completed.

“Mentors also get covered in child safety training,” adds Chernick. “We are very, very thorough because we want to make sure the kids are safe.”

The program is just getting underway, and continues through until June, when matches are put on hold for the summer months.

“It’s a great program and very rewarding,” says Chernick. “We have lots of kids who could definitely benefit from having a positive adult in their life. And it’s a very small commitment. One hour a week and you will make the difference in the life of a child.”

For further information on the in-School Mentoring Program, call the Ponoka Big Brothers Big Sisters at 403-783-3112, or check out: www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/ponoka/

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