Kira Mitchell and Natasha Pilkington are front-line faces for Big Brothers Big Sisters in an exciting expansion of mentoring programs for kids throughout the Cariboo.

Kira Mitchell and Natasha Pilkington are front-line faces for Big Brothers Big Sisters in an exciting expansion of mentoring programs for kids throughout the Cariboo.

BBBS in-school mentorship expands

In-school mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) in Williams Lake has expanded into the South Cariboo.

In-school mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) in Williams Lake has expanded into the South Cariboo thanks to a partnership between the BBBS office on Oliver Street and the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre in 100 Mile House – something that BBBS Executive Director Melissa Newberry describes as a good fit.

“This expansion was a result of a gap identified through the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre in 100 Mile House. There seemed to be a need for youth mentoring, and although they could offer many other services, this was one that was missing,” Newberry said.

“BBBS is a preventative program, and with a memorandum of understanding with School District #27, it was a good fit for us to train mentors and deliver it there out of their fabulous youth centre.”

The two women with their feet on the ground in this new partnership are Natasha Pilkington in Williams Lake and Kira Mitchell in the South Cariboo.

They both come to the table with experience working with in-school mentoring through BBBS and have each seen the benefits that this program brings to young kids, to their teen mentors, their families and their communities.

Working in the BBBS satellite office in the South Cariboo, Kira Mitchell is the in-school mentoring coordinator. She goes into schools collecting referrals for mentees, does the matches, provides orientation and monitors the matches.

“It all came together wonderfully for me,” Mitchell said. “I’m a child and youth worker, originally from Ontario. Last year my fiancée and I visited here and I loved it.

“I contacted the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre, and they had great opportunities. The executive director had already been talking to Melissa Newberry about a BBBS partnership and I was asked to be the coordinator,” she continued.

“I really enjoy living in the Cariboo — the scenery, the sunsets, small town life where people are very friendly. Everyone at the centre is so excited about this program coming to the South Cariboo — it’s been a very warm welcome.”

She comes to the South Cariboo BBBS program with experience running a Go Girls group in Ontario, and is also very familiar with BBBS.

“Cariboo Family Enrichment is such a great organization and I was so excited to get this job,” she added.

Both women have seen first hand the benefits from the BBBS programs. “I love making a difference in people’s lives and spending time with children.,” Pilkington said. “As an in-school mentor, I was paired with a Grade 4 boy. This is my third year with him, and it has been absolutely wonderful to be able to watch him grow. Mentoring gives these kids a true sense of confidence. You get to see them open up, improve their communication and smile when they see you at the door. They like that this is something just for them.

“It’s so rewarding when we do our checks throughout the year, and hear a Little say that the Big is part of their family.

“You know they’ve really bonded and the relationship is growing — they’ve become a role model and a friend. There are such great long-term benefits for a Little. Their confidence increases, and they feel safe, secure and accepted.”

Mitchell agrees. “There are such huge benefits to in-school mentoring, for both the younger kids and the teen mentors. It gives both a chance to talk about some of the issues they face, in an environment where they feel safe.

“I feel that this was a real need in our community and I look forward to seeing youth have positive activities in their lives to motivate them to continue to succeed,” she stated.

“With in-school mentoring the high school students get a chance to be leaders and take on extra responsibilities; it’s an opportunity for them to feel good about themselves — watching a child succeed and improve is invaluable. They’ll remember this forever.”

In the new year Pilkington will also run groups in partnership with Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake, including a two-week Go Girls program for girls in Grades 7 and 8, and a ‘Game On’ program for boys. Mentors will include TRU students doing a practicum; these programs will focus on things like healthy eating, healthy relationships and staying active.

For more information about programs run through Big Brothers Big Sisters, including how you can get involved, phone or visit their website.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The first Chimney Creek Roadhouse, constructed in 1864. (Photo courtesy of the B.C. Provincial Archives)
HAPHAZARD HISTORY: The Isnardy family of Williams Lake

Amadee Isnardy was born in 1840 near Nice, France

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.
FOREST INK: Ecological economics not a popular topic for most people

The following is a review of the no (or slow) growth concept

Do you have a letter? Email us at editor@wltribune.com
LETTER: BC Liberals left ICBC a mess: Farnworth

Our BC NDP government has worked tirelessly to fix the mess that was left behind

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read