As little as an hour or two once a week can make an enormous difference in the life of a child, says Taylor Watson, community development co-ordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters Victoria.
“Research has shown that children need only one person in their life to be on their side and have their back,” Watson said. “It helps build resiliency and the ability to deal with life’s challenges.”
There’s an “urgent need” for more mentors for children, especially on the West Shore and in Langford in particular, Watson noted. More than 100 children currently on the waiting list in the Victoria area, which translates to a wait of about a year. Another are that could use a helping hands is the In School Mentoring program, which involves visiting a “little,” as the organization calls them, at their school. There are six schools involved in that program in the Victoria area, including Ruth King Elementary. “The Go Girls program for middle schools is another great way to get involved,” Watson said, adding those interested must be females between 19 and 30 years of age. John Stubbs, Spencer and Dunsmuir middle schools are all currently involved. For more information on how to get involved as a mentor in these programs, visit bbbsvictoria.com.
September marks National Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada Month, which also coincides with the organization’s annual push to find more mentors for young people. Last year’s Imagine Who We will Become campaign (#ImagineBBBS) received 3,886 inquiries from people interested in volunteering to make a significant difference in a young persopn’s life. Matthew Chater, the newly appointed national president of BBBS, said in a release that he understands the need for social change and inclusivity for all, values he plans to champion through the #ImagineBBBS campaign and BBBS programming’
“Throughout the month of September, BBBS invites Canadians across the country to IMAGINE the incredible things that can happen when young people are empowered and have the support of cari9ng adults in their lives and IMAGINE who we can become as a society when we have happy, healthy, mentored young people in our communities,” Chater said.