Brianna Berthiaume, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lacombe and District, is preparing for Big Brothers Big Sisters Month in September. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Brianna Berthiaume, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lacombe and District, is preparing for Big Brothers Big Sisters Month in September. Mark Weber/Lacombe Express

Big Brothers Big Sisters gears up for ‘40 Mentors in 40 Days’

September is Big Brothers Big Sisters Month nationally

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe and District is gearing up for ‘40 Mentors in 40 Days’ this September.

It’s busy days at the local office with day camps coming up next week, some very special scholarship presentations later this month, and right around the corner in September comes the annual major push to sign up more mentors from the community.

“September is Big Brothers Big Sisters Month nationally, and Sept. 18 is Big Brothers Big Sisters Day as well,” explained Brianna Berthiaume, executive director.

She also pointed out that it’s an ideal season to encourage folks to sign up as mentors.

“People are back to looking at what is going on in the community, and where they can give their time. So we do the push for finding 40 mentors in 40 days,” she explained.

Prospective Big Brothers and Big Sisters can serve in a several capacities – they can sign on as community-based mentors, or in-school mentors or they can spend time with their mentees at the BBBS location here in town (the Bamford House) which is located at 5103 – 49 St.

“Our community-based program includes about six to eight hours each month,” she said. “They are out there in the community with their mentees doing any number of activities, whether that’s playing basketball, doing arts and crafts, attending Lacombe Days – those sorts of things,” she said, adding that planning a schedule that works for both the mentor and the mentee is typically a pretty flexible process.

“We also ask for a one-year commitment, but really we hope for a life-long one,” she added with a smile. Many matches indeed go on to form friendships that last for decades, which is always so fulfilling to see, she added.

“As for the in-school mentoring, that involves one hour a week on school property. Both adults and teens can participate in that program (as mentors),” she said. “It can be a school that is near your work, or whatever might work best for you. There are also lots of things to do onsite, and it’s based on what you both enjoy.”

If a teen signs up as an in-school mentor, they can receive school credit for every 25 hours that they volunteer, said Berthiaume.

As mentioned, the mentors and mentees can also spend time together at the Bamford House. “Our basement is set up for activities, so they are also able to mentor onsite here, too.”

A couple can sign up to mentor a single youth as well.

Again, there is plenty of flexibility in making it work. “When it comes to mentorship, there are so many different avenues that we are able to provide. We are definitely able to say that we have the opportunities, and here is what they could look like.”

Berthiaume joined the BBBS team this past December and is loving every minute of it, having had 14 years of experience working with youth organizations.

“You are giving back to an individual, but in the end, you are giving back to the community, too,” she said, referring to the many benefits of joining the program, and the sense of fulfillment it ultimately brings.

“The success stories are endless.”

For more information, call the local office at 403-782-7870 or visit lacombe.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.

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