STRATFORD'S youth mentoring programme 'Big Brothers Big Sisters' has moved ahead in leaps and bounds, with six successful matches since it began earlier this year.
Stratford Big Brother Big Sister case manager Jo Patterson is thrilled with the results so far and said more mentors are needed now for 2009.
One successful match has been with Glen Theyers (mentor) and Guy - pictured hanging out at the park. Their match has been going for four months and Guy has become a regular part of Glen and Kim's lives. Often they will pick him up when they are heading out to do day-to-day things picking up a goat house, swimming, visiting museums or driving in a hot rod.
Guys mum, Michelle said BBBS has added so much value to Guys life that he now looks forward to the outings each week and said that a special bond is growing.
Other matches in town enjoy regular evenings, including cooking dinner and playing cards, girly hangouts and the library.
Ideas are shared at regular mentor evenings and it's agreed it's not the exciting activities that make a match work, more important is the time spent chatting and just letting the child feel valued for an hour or two each week.
BBBS is a mentoring programme, which is about providing support to a young person who needs a friend.
The mentor is someone who is willing and able to support that young person, through a friendship based relationship on a regular basis.
BBBS of Taranaki was launched in May 2007 and is slowly, but surely gaining momentum in Stratford.
However, New Plymouth is booming with over 30 matches already.
The mentoring programme works because its fun. The key is the young person knows the older person accepts them for who they are. They don't have to put on a mask and try to be someone else.
Run by a trust, BBBS accepts referrals from various agencies and directly from families. The referrals come mostly from solo-parent families. The young people involved are aged between seven and 17, but particularly seven to 12 in Taranaki.
The mentor is there for them they aren't there to discipline or lecture the young person and they're not to counsel, or try to change their behaviour. They are just there to be a stable support.
BBBS want ordinary, everyday people who can spare an hour a week, want to have fun and can commit to a year.
With the program being so successful organisers are now ready to accept new mentors. All ages, all backgrounds. Anyone who has ever considered making a difference to a young persons life should give Jo a call.
To make sure the match is a good one there is an interview process and training is provided. This is a sure and proven way to make a difference, especially in a small community.
All new matches will begin in the New Year, but the application process needs to start now! There are currently eight children waiting for mentors in the Stratford area.
Contact Stratford Big Brother Big Sister case manager Jo Patterson on 765 8927 and leave a message as someone is not always there.
Jo and the BBBS team would like to thank the Taranaki Electricity Trust for their support and funding.