Kids Are the Future
It’s so important for kids to have tools and supports they need to be successful. We know that sometimes Moms and Dads and caregivers of all kinds can’t do it all by themselves and it’s important that you know we are here to help. Your concern for your child’s well being is demonstrated when you reach out to others.
Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children and youth between the ages of 6 and 24. Regardless of their circumstances and background, we have a program to meet their needs and help them grow into thriving young people. We do that by providing a variety of mentoring and after school programs. Ultimately, we want to provide kids with the healthy relationships and enriching experiences they need to understand their full potential and go out there and grab it.
Community Big Brothers Big Sisters Program (in person program)
Our more recognized program is our Community Based 1:1 program (Big Brothers, Big Sisters or Couple Matches) - a volunteer is matched to a child or youth based on their location, interests and activities they would like to do in a match. The match (volunteer and child) spends that one on one time out in the community with each other for about 1-2 hours weekly or 2-4 biweekly (depending on availability and scheduling between the volunteer and family). The focus is on friendship and connecting youth to broader experiences, opportunities and networks. The match can participate in a wide range of activities such as going to parks, attending festivals and community events, bowling, baking, arts and crafts etc. We do encourage matches to focus on low or no cost activities in order to make the relationship affordable over the long period of time for both the volunteer and family.
Learning Lab (drop-in program)
This program is being run in partnership with BGC Strathcona County, and is a drop in program at the new youth hub (located at 123-2016 Sherwood Drive, in the Park Centre and Hotel across from Mississippi Jacks). The learning lab will be open from 3:00 – 8:00 Monday to Friday. The learning lab will be set up with computers, wifi, printer and more! Volunteers and staff will be present to support youth with homework questions or access to homework supports, resumes and post secondary preparation.
Virtual Tutoring (on-line program)
This program is geared toward students in grades of 3-12. Mentors are asked to connect on line for 45-60 minutes once a week with their matched student for the current school year. Students and their mentor will log on virtually either from after school/evenings depending on parent and student schedules. The focus of these connections would be to support and encourage students in various school subject areas. Over time, this helps children and youth meaningfully improve their academic skills and become more confident in their academic abilities.
In School Mentoring Program
*Note: This program is currently not running; further information to come in fall 2021.
The In School Mentoring Program is a way to get involved with a child. It allows volunteers (mentors) to share time with a child in their school during the school day. Mentors meet with their littles (students) following the 20-20-20 rule: 20 minutes of getting to know each other and catching up, 20 minutes of school work or reading, and 20 minutes of free time. In addition to friendship, the focus is on literacy, social support and classroom support. Volunteers in this program are meeting youth in their schools during the school day (lunch hours even!). Matches in this program do not meet over the summer. Great opportunity for businesses to support their employees to get involved in a local volunteer program, and only have to give up an hour of their time each week!
The program locally is just beginning to develop programs at the high schools where students in Grades 10-12 can volunteer as mentors to elementary students (Grades 3-5). These programs are run in partnership with the high school and Boys and Girls Clubs Strathcona County. Any high schools interested in learning more, please contact Tracy Lockhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-420-6352.
What To Expect
- Ensure the safety of our children and youth and our volunteers.
- Work with you to match your child with a volunteer or program where their interests and availability are considered.
- Assign a direct contact person to provide support and answer your questions
- Provide orientation and training so you know what to expect.
- Help ensure the child is successful.
- Work with us to make sure your child’s needs are met
- Support your child in building relationships and/or participating in programming
- Talk, listen, support, guide, encourage – believe in them and help them believe in themselves.
- Keep our staff informed about any changes and progress
- Keep in touch with your staff contact person and ask questions as they arise. We also really like hearing about your experiences!