Annual 20 Mentors in 20 Days campaign wraps up

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe & District have wrapped up their biggest recruitment campaign for another year.

FREE DRINKS – Crystal Zens (left) and Miranda Faulkner serve lemonade at their free lemonade stand event recently.

FREE DRINKS – Crystal Zens (left) and Miranda Faulkner serve lemonade at their free lemonade stand event recently.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe & District have wrapped up their biggest recruitment campaign for another year.

The annual 20 Mentors in 20 Days is a campaign of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) in conjunction with National Big Brothers Big Sisters Month.

As the name suggests, the goal of the campaign is to recruit 20 mentors within 20 days in September.

Crystal Zens, executive director for BBBS of Lacombe & District said that 24 applications were handed out during the campaign and about half of them have already been filled out.

She added that 24 applications is down a bit from last year’s 38 recruits, but she is still satisfied with the success of this year’s campaign and also hopes there will be some more applicants trickling in throughout October.

“(Last year) was hugely successful so it’s hard to top that,” said Zens. “I think we surpassed our goal (this year), so we are still happy with that.”

A number of events were held during the campaign to raise awareness within the district. Zens said BBBS had a presence at both the Lacombe and Blackfalds Active Living Fairs and also attended a few farmer’s markets in those communities.

Big Brothers Big Sisters also set up a free lemonade stand on Sept. 13 to increase awareness and to promote interest in the organization among local businesses. BBBS delivered homemade apple pies to Lacombe business during Random Acts of Recruiting event on Sept. 24.

With school starting, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a greater need for mentors in September than any other time of the year. As such, it is fitting to hold the campaign, the organizations biggest push for mentors, in this month.

Zens said that September is an important month for BBBS because it is the start of its in-school mentorship program, which currently has a waitlist with about 12 names. She added that BBBS tries not to match students partway through the year in order to give students and mentors the entire length of the school year to bond and develop a relationship.

The organization’s in-school program is a great way for people to get involved with BBBS without having to make a huge time commitment. Each mentor needs to commit to only one hour a week during the school day with the child they are matched with. This program also only lasts the length of the school year, meaning the summer is free for both mentor and child.

It is also a great way for businesses to get involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. By endorsing employees to mentor children during the school hours, when many business are open as well, businesses too can show their support for BBBS.

“I think they really set an example of community spirit and giving back,” said Zens.

She added the in-school mentorship program can be used to address a number of different situations school-aged children might be faced with.

Whether children are struggling socially, being bullied, having parents recently separated or just needing extra help in school, they could use an hour break once a week to have some fun.

“It’s just to give that child a positive role model to bond with. They look forward to that one hour, they know their mentor is coming they are watching at the door.”

BBBS of Lacombe & District need volunteers for their traditional program as well as the in-school program. Zens said they having about 80 volunteers in both programs combined and while matching for the in-school mentorship doesn’t really happen past February, matching for the traditional program, which also has a wait list with about 15 boys, is done year round.

Commitments for the traditional program are a bit more demanding as well. Mentors need to commit to at least one year, instead of just the school year, as well as make a commitment to spend two to three hours a week with their matches instead of just one hour.

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