Forward-Thinking: Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver – In-School Mentoring Program

Forward-Thinking: Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver – In-School Mentoring Program

By: Chris Gal-lang
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“And in today walks tomorrow” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

If you’re like Tay-Cole (oh man, my English profs are gonna kill me!), poetically philosophizing on the presence of the future, or if you’re just flat out searching for ways to be more involved in the development of VanCity’s youth, check out the In-School Mentoring Program run by Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver!

The mission of the ISM program is to provide children, who may normally struggle socially, with guidance and support from a Big Buddy within a familiar school environment.  With an open application to any adult with a positive and enthusiastic spirit, In-School Mentors not only plan fun and engaging activities for their Little Buddy, but also have the opportunity to truly cherish, nurture, and inspire an at-risk child.

Ashlee Milby, the Marketing and Communications Manager for Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver, shares a specifically memorable story of growth and compassion within the ISM Program:

“One child who was referred to the program, a little girl in the third grade whose mother had suddenly passed away, was matched with a woman who was herself a mother of two boys.  This match lasted five years!  The mentor was able to see a sad, quiet little girl grow and blossom into a confident and self-assured youth.  They met once a week at the school to bake, do crafts, and play games.  This was all that the child needed – just someone to be there for her – to listen, talk, and play.”

The effect of In-School Mentoring is two-fold: Children not only get to spend time with their Big Buddy in a positive environment, but mentors continuously develop their work-related skills.  Whether you are pursuing a career in child development, social services, or crime prevention, or if you’re just looking to improve in the areas of planning and communication, Big Brothers has long been known to provide volunteers with the experience necessary on a résumé, and stories of growth which last a lifetime.

Ready to get involved?  Call 604-876-2447 or visit Big Brothers to fill out an application form today.  In order to be considered for the position, applicants must complete a criminal record check and provide four references.  If an applicant successfully makes it through the screening and interview process, they will then participate in a three-hour group training session to learn about their responsibilities as a mentor.  After that, volunteers are matched with a Little Buddy based on similar interests and will also be assigned a Mentoring Coordinator who is there as a dependable resource should any questions arise.

As the school year is already pushing past the halfway point, and since it takes about 6-8 weeks to complete the application process –the screening, interview, training and matching procedure–make sure to apply as soon as possible.

One hour a week can make all the difference.  Don’t wait around, the world’s ahead.  It’s time to get back to the youth.

Back to the future.

Posted on January 24, 2012
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