January is National Mentor Month across Canada, and that’s the kind of initiative that directly relates to the ongoing mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lacombe.
“It’s to feature all mentoring programs,” explained Crystal Zens, executive director. “Big Brothers Big Sisters is a part of Alberta Mentoring, which is a government initiative that provides resources for all different organizations,” she added. “Alberta Mentoring is doing a lot of things in our community for National Mentor Month.
“We are doing ‘Meet the Match’, so we are trying to feature our matches on social media and trying to be more visible this month with our programming,” she said. “We are still doing our Match Meetings here at the house on Wednesdays – they can come on in and use the kitchen to bake or cook, or go downstairs to play games and fun things like that.
“Artistique Gymnastics is opening up for our matches to come there in February; we’ve had donors give away Rebels tickets to our matches. So they are having lots of fun right now.”
However, Zens said that a wait list for big brothers and big sisters to come onboard with the organization remains.
“We are also kicking off Bowl for Kids outside of the Mentor Month – it’s scheduled for March 10th, and it’s our biggest core fundraiser of the year,” she said, adding that the ultimate goal is $60,000. “It’s a hefty goal, and when your budget is only $200,000, that’s a big portion relying on it.
“Our goal is to recruit 40 teams and get about $10,000 in sponsorships. We are also hosting Wii bowling in six community schools – that’s pretty exciting. The kids fundraise and get prizes – that sort of thing – and it all helps the kids in our community,” she said.
“Our theme for the adult bowl is ‘Back to the Eighties’, she said with a laugh, adding there will be prizes for the best dressed teams.
“With the adults, we are doing virtual Wii bowling at the LMC again this year – tournament style,” she said.
For the younger set, the theme is ‘Pirate and Princess’. We have a Disney-themed prize, with a travel voucher as well – we’ve had some pretty awesome support with our prizes,” she said.
Servus Credit Union is the title sponsor again this year.
“It’s so amazing to have them as our title sponsor – it’s a collaborative effort from Alix, Bentley, Blackfalds and Lacombe Servus Credit Unions, which is phenomenal because we serve all of those communities,” she said.
Meanwhile, this past fall the organization launched a campaign mainly focused on in-school mentoring and teen mentors called ‘40 Mentors in 40 Days’.
More than 30 mentors were recruited at that time.
Burman University students also helped run some programs later last year as well – a pilot project in Blackfalds called ‘Game On’ which was a boys’ healthy self-esteem and mentoring program about positive life choices and ‘Go Girls’ in Lacombe.
As mentioned, there is always a need for mentors – particularly for boys. For more about volunteering or helping out with the ‘Landlord of the Month’ program, call 403-782-7870.