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Posted: January 26, 2018

In-School Mentoring program reintroduced

2017 was a year of rebuilding, fundraising, strengthening core services and raising awareness; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook ready to serve more local children

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook has launched a site-based, in-school mentorship program in collaboration with School District No. 5.

“The In-School Mentoring program sends volunteer mentors into schools one hour a week, during school hours, to spend time developing a friendship with a child who has been identified by the school as someone who may benefit from additional mentorship support,” said Jordan MacDonald, executive director. “The program is not academically based. It’s about doing something fun – cooking, crafts, reading, playing. Currently, we are working with Amy Woodland and Steeples elementary schools.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook is looking for more mentors (18 years of age or older) who have one hour a week they can commitment as a volunteer for the site-based mentorship program, which takes place October through May.

A teen mentoring program is also being piloted; it pairs teens from Mount Baker Secondary School with elementary students for friendship and mentorship during school hours. There are seven sessions planned from February to May, with intentions to fully implement the program during the 2018-2019 school year.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Cranbrook is seeking teen volunteers from Grade 10, 11, or 12.

“In-school mentoring allows us to reach kids who may not necessarily have access to our mentorship opportunities outside of school hours,” said MacDonald.

The expansion of the Big Brother Big Sisters of Cranbrook mentorship programming is a result of a successful 2017 for the organization.

“It’s been a busy year of rebuilding, fundraising, strengthening core services and raising awareness,” said MacDonald. “We moved offices to the Kootenay Child Development Centre, which not only reduced operational costs but enhanced our ability to collaborate with other charitable groups. Being in proximity to other organizations that serve local children and families means we’re receiving more referrals. The centre also serves as a hub of support and makes it convenient for the families we work with to access other valuable resources.”

Cheque presentation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook from Denham Ford’s Drive 4UR Community event.

In 2017 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook hosted and benefited from multiple high-profile community fundraisers including Bowl for Kids’ Sake, which raised more than $19,000 in April, and Denham Ford’s Drive 4UR Community event, which brought in more than $1,700 in June.

“In September, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook celebrated its 40th anniversary with an awareness campaign that included advertising, fundraising, barbecues, an open house, and anniversary party,” said MacDonald. “And we worked with Staples to help more than 80 kids get back-to-school supplies.

“In October, we hosted a magic show with many tickets donated to kids in our community. Then we concluded the year with a WestJet Raffle, which raised another $3,500 in support of our mentorship programs.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook also received confirmation last year from its governing power Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBSC) that it maintained accreditation by participating in a mid-term evaluation as an interim measure, ensuring adherence to National Standards and organizational excellence. Each BBBSC member agency is accredited every five years.

“Despite a very busy year, we’ve also made a lot of time for fun,” said MacDonald. “Mister Tire recently donated a box seat to a Kootenay ICE game where our ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ were additionally spoiled by Royal LePage with goody bags, snacks and even teddy bears to toss. It’s been a solid year for the organization. We feel well-positioned to serve local children as we enter 2018 and are grateful to those who have supported us and look forward to continuing that momentum.”

The Staples School Supply Drive in September.

Lead image: The Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty team at the Bowl For Kids’ Sake fundraiser. Photos submitted

Big Brothers Big Sisters Cranbrook

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