MENTORS NEEDED - Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer, run out of the Youth HQ office, recently received $9,000 to help provide mentorship to eight children. Red Deer Express File Photo

Red Deer Big Brothers and Big Sisters receives $9,000 to help children

Funds go to matching an adult with a child, providing them with training and support

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Red Deer recently received $9,000 from the Red Deer and District Community Foundation to support, train and recruit mentors for eight children.

According to a press release, the funds will go towards a mentorship program that will match a caring adult with a child and provide them with training and support, “That will enable the relationship to flourish and create opportunities for the mentee to grow and discover their potential.”

Program Manager Dawn Flanagan said the funds were a grant they applied for and will help them start to find mentors for the over 70 children currently on their wait list.

“The ability to recruit and train new matches is just incredible,” she said.

“For a lot of these kids, it can sometimes be the only stable adult in their lives. A lot of our families include single parent households and they work long hours.

“They want what is best for their kids but due to multiple demands aren’t able to do that, whether that is emotionally, financially or even time-wise.”

She added these funds will go specifically to one-on-one mentoring, however she did mention that they also have mentoring programs in schools as well as a program specifically for teenagers.

The cost to provide mentorship per year is $1,200 per child, meaning that providing a mentor to everyone on 70 child wait list costs the program $84,000.

“We get new kids added all the time, I just signed up three new kids yesterday,” Flanagan added.

Big Brothers and Big Sisters not only requires grants like this one, it also is consistently in need of adults looking to mentor.

“January is mentoring month. There is going to be a real push from Alberta Mentoring Partnership at Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Canada to get the word out that we need mentors and we really need male mentors,” Flanagan said.

To become a Big Brother or Big Sister, you can log to to the Youth HQ Website. You will need to provide three references and go through a child welfare and criminal record check.

“Statistics show that there is an 18 to one return on investment from mentoring. What people give to youth now, pays society back in spades,” Flanagan added.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

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