Year of good companionship

By Shauni James

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David Remmerswaal and Logan Potae at The Redwoods Treewalk. Photo / Stephen Parker
David Remmerswaal and Logan Potae at The Redwoods Treewalk. Photo / Stephen Parker

For one of the first match-ups of Rotorua's Big Brothers Big Sisters, the last year has flown by.

The first matches of the mentoring programme, including "big brother" David Remmerswaal and his "little brother" 10-year-old Logan Potae, have been together a year. The pair celebrated yesterday with an outing to The Redwoods Treewalk.

Mr Remmerswaal said when he heard about the programme he thought it was a cool idea.

"I've grown up here in town and the whole idea of the organisation appealed to me, so I thought I would give it a go."

He and Logan mostly did things around town like taking his dog for a walk, going to the Saturday market and geocaching. It was like having "a little mate you hang out with" in the weekends, Mr Remmerswaal said.

Logan said he thought the programme was important because kids who did not have a father or mother could hang out with a person who was like one, or like a big brother or sister.

"It's nice to spend time with someone, it's just fun hanging out with each other and doing cool stuff."

The pair said many highlights came to mind, including going to the Wingspan National Bird of Prey Centre, mountain biking in the rain and going to the trout hatchery.

Logan's mother, Regan Connor, said her son enjoyed spending time with Mr Remmerswaal and they had been matched perfectly. "It's just been great to give him a positive male role model in his life."

She would like the mentoring match to continue for as long as Mr Remmerswaal was around, she said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rotorua co-ordinator Darryl Parker said there were 14 active matches in the city, with the first three completing a year recently. Pairs were matched around a compatibility of interests, he said.

"It's about children having that one-on-one time with an adult that they might not necessarily have."

The big brothers and sisters loved it, and they quickly formed a close bond, he said.

"All we ask for is that they go and have fun with the kids."

Mr Parker said nationally the average length of a match was three years.

"Many of them develop into life-long friendships, that's our goal and what we want to see."

There is no cost involved for the child or family, he said.

- Interested in mentoring? Contact Mr Parker on 027 306 3381 or darryl.parker@bigbrothersbigsisters.org.nz

- Rotorua Daily Post

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