A Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawke’s Bay Mentor’s Recount:
Investing in a young person’s life has given me a sense of achievement I never thought possible while living in my own world
Lance, 57 years, joined Big Brothers Big Sisters in March 2019 and has been matched with his Little Brother for 12 months. Lance became a mentor because he wanted to participate in something that was community focused. “Over a period of time I had become aware that my life was very inwardly focused, I wanted to change that and becoming a mentor has more than fulfilled that need. I don’t see my mentee as a project, more a life that is worthy of my best investment.”
“I can use my life and practical skills to teach, guide and support this young man as he navigates his way through his life. My reward comes through the relationship and bond that I have formed with my Little Brother.“
When asked about the changes Lance has seen in his Little Brother, Lance says “he has become confident and comfortable with me, this makes him more open to communicating, and he trusts me. We do all sorts of activities together sports, building things and hanging out. He is learning new skills, becoming more socially interactive and I see my time with him as supporting and enhancing the life skills his family impart to him.”
Lance recommends mentoring for many reasons, most importantly giving his time to a young person outside of his personal world “Each week I see a young man eager to learn, spend time with me, and take advantage of the opportunities I can offer him, it is really rewarding.”
“Every person has skills they can share with a young person, I would encourage you to extend yourself and invest time in helping a young person to reach their potential. All you need is time and that can be as little as an hour a week. The rewards are enormous – anyone can become a mentor it a truly worthwhile cause.”
A great track record to date
As you will have noted from Lance’s story, mentoring is about offering a child a positive relationship, introducing the child to activities they may not normally have access to, supporting confidence to grow, and helping them reach their potential.
Since January 2018 Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawke’s Bay have matched 69 children with mentors. It’s biannual reporting results show an improvement in young people’s attitudes to school, improvement in their relationships with families and peers, and improved self-confidence.
Reasons people volunteer to be a Big Brother or Big Sister Mentor
The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring model is appealing for people in the community who want to give back. Many mentors introduce their mentee’s to activities they might not have tried themselves, enjoying a sense of achievement for both. The positive impact mentors can have on a young person’s life is rewarding, and many mentors discover a new youthful joy and personal growth, whilst forming lifelong friends.
Each person has a different reason for mentoring, often it can be having new-found spare time, others really enjoy being around children, some have no family locally and are missing the day-to-day contact with their children or grandchildren.
Mentors bring a raft of skills and unique life experiences to each and every match. They play a positive and constant role in the life of the child they are matched with. A mentor can help expand horizons, extend knowledge, all the time whilst having fun. One-on-one mentoring works in many positive ways for a young person and it can be life changing.
The criteria for being a mentor
Mentors can be between the age of 18 and 80
They must have a full drivers license
Be committed to one or more hours per week to seeing their mentee (excluding holidays, illness etc)
Agree to mentor for 12 months or more (the longer a match continues the more positive outcomes for a child).
Type of activities the matches get up to
The first three months of a match, outings are required to be carried out in the community, visiting local parks, libraries, beaches and attractions are the norm for this period. After three months (subject to approval) the mentor has the option to take the mentee to their home where they often do creative activities such as baking, sewing, arts, crafts and building projects.
Attracting male mentors
It is considerably more difficult to attract male mentors as some are concerned about potential risks and social stigmas, however there are rigorous processes, training and monitoring in place to support both the mentor and mentee while on the programme. All our male mentors report a love of mentoring their young people, with no issues.
We are always in need of mentors
With time to reflect, and thinking about how you can support people in the community have you considered mentoring a child? Here are some more Mentor Frequently Asked Questions you could read.
One hour, once a week, one life, one Year.
It’s easy, it’s huge fun and rewarding!
Every LITTLE need a BIG – Enquire Today about becoming a volunteer mentor
History of Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters was founded in 1904 by Ernest Coulter, a young New York city court clerk who observed an increase in young boys coming through his courtroom. Ernest recognised that caring adults could help many of these kids stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers. This marked the beginning of the Big Brothers movement and now with over 115 years proven history, Big Brothers Big Sisters is the world’s premier mentoring programme.
The BBBS Programme reached New Zealand in the late 1990’s with the first branch established in Tāmaki-nui-a-Rua (Dannevirke), and the first mentoring match was made in November 1996.
There are now currently 13 branches operating throughout New Zealand providing professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships between adult volunteers and 6 to 12-year-old children. Once a child is matched they can remain on the programme until they reach 18 years of age.
The Hawke’s Bay branch was established in 2006 by local Police and run successfully by Police staff until restructuring and disestablished positions resulted in the programme going into limbo for a couple of years. In September 2017 a new Hawke’s Bay Board was formed and the programme relaunched with a dedicated Case Manager employed to get it off the ground.