Originally Published in Colchester Weekly
May 16, 2018
One of the programs we offer here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester is our Peer Mentoring Program. Right now this program is offered at Cobequid Educational Centre, with hopes of expanding into other high schools in Colchester County.
Our Peer Mentoring Program is designed specifically for High School students. Students in grade 11 or 12 (Mentors) are matched with students in the lower grades (Mentees) to provide them with support, encouragement and to have some fun.
“We have a great relationship with the staff at CEC. We have been running the program there for nine years now, and the program continues to grow. This year we have thirty matches,” said Shawna Fraser, the agencies Caseworker who coordinates the Peer Mentoring Program.
This is a wonderful way for grade ten students, who are new to CEC to get comfortable with the new and often overwhelming environment. A mentor can help their mentee get familiar with the building, where their classes are and what services are available to them. Having someone who they know will be there for them can make all the difference in their school experience.
Presentations to to grade nine students in our local feeder schools begin in the spring. Students learn about the opportunity to become a mentee, and all the advantages of having a peer mentor as new students to CEC.
“The opportunity to be both a mentee and a mentor in our program is unique and beneficial. Not only are new friendships being formed, but mentees are gaining confidence, mentors are developing leadership skills, and so much more,” said Fraser.
Mentors and Mentees are matched one-on-one, based on their interests and personalities. Matches meet every week on school property, usually during lunch break, and spend that time together playing sports, sharing interests or just hanging out and talking. The goal of the program is to increase self-esteem and encourage healthy decision making in the students being mentored.
Mentors who participate in the Peer Mentoring program have their grad fees covered by our agency, as well as any “Little” who is graduating. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester also acknowledges three students as “shining stars” who were Peer Mentors in the program. These students are chosen based on their dedication and commitment to the program as well as their impact on their Mentee.
Shawna Fraser is always impressed by the mentors that go through the program every year. “I get the pleasure of meeting some pretty amazing teens, teens who are natural helpers, teens that you know will be great community contributors where ever they may end up settling.”
Peer Mentoring is just one of many school-based programs we offer. We also offer In School Mentoring, and Game On and Go Girls, which are both group programs. We offer all these programs at several different schools throughout Colchester.
To find out how you can get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colchester, visit our website here www.colchesterkids.ca or give us a call at 895-4562.