John Gooding (left) has been a Big Brother for 15 years

John Gooding (left) has been a Big Brother for 15 years

Big Brother/Big Sister matches make lifelong difference for kids

Sharing your life with a child through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has many rewards for adults, children and teens.

Sharing your life with a child through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has been proven to provide satisfaction and enjoyment for kids, adults and teens.

BBBS is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and Williams Lake executive director Lorraine Levitt says that a big thank you goes out to two ‘Bigs’ who have been volunteers for 15 years.

“We owe so much to volunteers like Jen Clark and John Gooding,” she says. “Volunteer continuity is a gift: studies show that the longer the match, the greater impact it has on the child and the higher the outcomes.”

From Grade 3 to the end of high school kids go through a number of significant changes, says Lorraine, who adds that with a Big Brother or Sister, kids have another source of support—someone who enjoys a personal relationship with them.

She says that BBBS has kids on a list waiting for a special adult in their lives as a Big Brother or Big Sister. “This is where adults spend time with a child in the community. You incorporate a child into your life, spending a few hours a month for a year with them,” she says.

“It can be as simple as washing the car, renting movies or going for a hike.”

Levitt has been with BBBS for 25 years, from the time it was a two-drawer filing cabinet under the basement stairs to a store-front building with a staff and approximately 200 volunteers—something she calls “an amazing journey.”

She said that opportunities for making a difference in the life of a child include in-school mentoring, and that BBBS is in great need of adults who can share an hour a week in an elementary school for the 10-month school term. “They spend an hour doing fun recreational activities with a kid: games, crafts or kicking a soccer ball. It’s building a relationship with kids based on having fun,” she explained.

“The children are chosen by school personnel—kids who are on the brink of success, and who need extra support and encouragement to help them achieve their full potential.”

There is a room in each elementary school set aside for BBBS ‘matches’ with games, books and craft supplies available.

She said that you don’t have to have prior experience or intensive training to be an in-school mentor an hour a week.

“We give you some tools and we match you on a compatibility basis so that the adult and the child enjoy the same types of activities. We also provide match support throughout the year, ensuring that it’s a positive experience for everyone,” she continued.

“In-school mentoring takes place during school hours and can be arranged to suit your work schedule. Many organizations allow staff paid time for this time with a kid: it’s a great way for a business to support the future of kids in our community.”

Big Brothers and Big Sisters has developed a vital program in enhancing the lives of students, according to one Nesika Elementary School counsellor. “It is amazingly simple yet drastically effective–the bond between a positive volunteer and a younger child. We see the benefits of this through the unique opportunity that this program provides. Students’ self-esteem and confidence increase. The children are happier and develop a healthy connection to the school. In many cases it becomes the child’s highlight of their day.  We see children start to make positive choices and to develop stronger social skills.”

Of all of the programs that come and go in public schools, the In School Mentoring Program has one of the longest lasting positive effects for the kids who participate in it, a Cataline Elementary School counsellor explained.

The counsellor saus Kids still talk about their mentors years after the match has finished, and I have a continual flow of kids to my office asking if they, too, can get a mentor.

“We have had mentors from ages 15 to 80-plus, with all levels of experiences and interests,” Levitt says.

“All you need is an interest in making a difference in the life of a child.”

For more information about BBBS programs, phone 250-398-8391, visit www.bbswlake.com or email lorraine.levitt@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca

 

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

Just Posted

The wind has been gusting Friday, March 5 in Williams Lake with the risk of a thunderstorm in the forecast for later in the afternoon. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
More than 500 customers in Cariboo without power, risk of thunderstorm Friday afternoon

The BC Hydro map is adding more power outages as the afternoon unfolds

The Fox Mountain Trail Network will undergo a significant machine- and hand-built upgrade thanks to a $253,000 grant from the province’s Rural Economic Recovery program. (Scott Horley photo)
Major Fox Mountain bike trail upgrade project slated to begin this May

A machine-built downhill trail, along with an improved uphill route, are part of the project

Four projects in Williams Lake have received Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program funding. (City of Williams Lake photo)
$1.35 million CERIP funds going to projects in Williams Lake

Mayor Walt Cobb thanked the province for its investment in the community

100 Mile RCMP are looking for Haileigh Archie, 18, who was reported missing from her home near Lone Butte. (Photo submitted)
100 Mile RCMP looking for missing teen Haileigh Archie

Archie was reported missing from her home in Lone Butte area on March 4.

City of Williams Lake considering using remainder of COVID Safe Restart Grant to make up for unpaid taxes. (City of Williams Lake photo)
Williams Lake weighs allocating rest of COVID safe restart grant in capital programs

The $546,205 left of the $2.6 million could make up for $746,874 in outstanding taxes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

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

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
B.C. dentists and bus drivers want newly-approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine

BC Dental Association says dentists and their teams cannot treat patients remotely

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Most Read