Local agency in urgent need of volunteers

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer encourages citizens to sign up

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District urgently needs volunteers.

Almost 100 youth are currently waiting to be matched with a caring mentor in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer and District programs, and across the country over 4,000 young Canadians need a mentor.

Big Brothers Big Sisters officially launched a campaign this month to draw attention to this urgent need for more volunteers.

While mentors from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds across the gender spectrum are needed, the demand for male volunteers is especially high, and volunteering for only one hour a week can change the course of a young life.

A mentor in Red Deer described his mentee’s development.

“My mentee seems to have a stronger opinion on what he wants to do with his life. He seems to recognize that his choices today have an impact in the future. He doesn’t always make the best choices but he still seems to recognize consequences.”

The two-way, back and forth relationship between a mentor and mentee positively impacts brain development and equips youth with the skills needed to deal with adversities and stress they face in a complicated world.

“It may be a youth in your neighbourhood or one across town who may be facing challenges that if only someone took the time to listen and encourage them, they may be motivated and confident enough to tackle them,” said Jacquie Boyd, executive director of Youth HQ. “The investment of time is minimal but the payback is huge. The rewards can be significant for the youth mentee, the adult mentor, and our community.”

Youth who have been mentored through Big Brothers Big Sisters programming are 17% more likely to be gainfully employed as adults and they earn 13% more on average in those jobs.

This newly launched national recruitment campaign, which features the slogan ‘Imagine who they will become because of you’ captures the impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters programming by showcasing current mentoring relationships across Canada. Presented by Manulife, the campaign gives potential volunteers and donors a glimpse of the community change they can support with their time and donations.

Some celebrities supporting the cause include country music star Gord Bamford and Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames. More information can be found at imagineBBBS.ca.

– Connolly

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