It has been almost eight years since Lisa Richardson and Emily Llewellyn first meet in the McDonald's in Napier.

It is the typical first meeting place for people matched through the Big Brother Big Sister programme, which places youth with an adult mentor.

"Big sister" Richardson says her and Llewellyn's relationship has lasted so long because they just have fun together.

"We get to do stuff that you wouldn't normally get to do by yourself," Richardson said.


She said it had been a really rewarding experience.

"For Emily, seeing her get a bit more out there, seeing her get involved with stuff and kind of have her own voice," Richardson said.

"It was kind of nice to feel like I had had some input in that."

Llewllyn said she had become more confident because of the programme.

"I don't seem as shy," said Llewllyn.

"I still am, but not as much."

"I'd like to think she got some baking skills," Richardson joked.

As well as baking, the pair enjoy trying ice chocolates together, and on one memorable occasion, went the Ed Sheeran concert in Auckland.

"We drove up to Ed Sheeran, so that was a long car ride of singing Ed Sheeran pretty much the whole way there and the whole way back," Richardson said.

Big Brother Big Sister Case Manager Patricia Small, who runs the Hawke's Bay programme, says it has really positive effects, not just on the mentee, but on the mentor as well.

"There's lots of positive outcomes, children who potentially were going off in a negative direction, through positive role modelling, have turned themselves around," Small said

"The mentors that come on to the programme get as much of a reward as the children do," Small said.

"They learn a lot about themselves."

"It's a really rewarding and fun things to do for a mentor," Small said.

Carl Southwick, Project Leader on the programme on behalf of Hawke's Bay Police said the programme allowed less fortunate children experiences all children should have access to.

"A lot of kids miss out on people who are genuinely interested in them," Southwick said.

Southwick said the most important part of the programme for him was seeing the positive changes in the children's self esteem.

"I just want the kids to be better people at the end of it," Southwick said.

Richardson said if you were interested in being a mentor you should just do it.

"You don't know what sort of impact you are going to make to somebody."

Big Brother Big Sister is holding a mentor information evening on Thursday, August 23, at the Greenmeadows East Community Hall at 6.30.