Originally published in Colchester Weekly

January 4, 2018

Making a Significant Difference

During the month of January mentors are celebrated across the country. Here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester we are celebrating several different days throughout the month to recognize the contribution mentors make to our youth and to our community.

I encourage you all to take this time to reflect on some of the influential and positive mentors you’ve had in your own lives. Perhaps this person was a coach, a teacher, a neighbour, or a family friend. I have been lucky enough to have many wonderful mentors in my life, and all of these individuals left a profound impact on my life. What has a mentor done for you? How have they made a positive contribution to your life?

Many of the children and youth who come to see us sadly have never had the experience of having a mentor. We know the incredible benefit a mentor can have on someone’s life and that’s why we are so passionate here at BBBS to make sure that every child in Colchester County who needs a mentor, has a mentor. A study completed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada founded that 63% of BBBS mentoring recipients had a post-secondary education, 13% had higher earnings and 47% held senior leadership positions. Mentors provide youth with a sense of belonging, acceptance, empowerment and connection. Imagine if every young person in Colchester had that. Imagine the positive affect it would have on our community.

We have several different types of mentoring programs that many community members might be unfamiliar with. We have our most well-known Big and Little Core program were a child or youth is matched with a “Big Brother or Sister”. We also have our Big Couples program that matches a young person with a suitable couple. Our other programs include our In-School Mentoring program, our Peer Mentoring program and our Go Girls and Game On group mentoring programs. Our In School Mentoring program provides girls and boys with a role model and a friend to talk to within school grounds. For one hour a week, mentors meet with their mentee and engage in activities such as board games, crafts or just simply talking. The In -school Mentoring program requires a weekly visit of 1 hour for the duration of the school year. Matches do not meet over the summer break or during other school holidays. You can find out more information about any of these programs by visiting our website at colchesterkids.ca. There are many ways for community members to get involved and become a needed mentor for a young person.

Please follow along with us on our Facebook and Instagram pages for the month of January as we celebrate and recognize BBBS mentors. These individuals are the difference makers in our community.

From all of us here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester, thank you to our community volunteers, partners and champions who make Colchester a great place to live, work and play.