In front are Lynn Workun and Arika, a mentor-student team at C B McMurdo School. Standing behind are Jessica Remple, organizer of the Boys & Girls Club Stars Mentoring Program, Mike Daly, principal of C B McMurdo School, Diane Duce, provincial president of the IODE, and Kristy Strong, school liaison staff at C B McMurdo.
The Boys & Girls Club of Wetaskiwin's Stars Mentoring Program, in partnership with Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools and the HUB Mental Health Capacity Project, is making a difference in the lives of children through matching them one-on-one with volunteer adult mentors. The mentor and student get together for an hour each week during school time to enjoy shared activities and each other's company. The Provincial Chapter of Alberta IODE contributes financial support to the program, and a number of employers contribute by making it possible for employees to leave their place of work during work hours to give back to the community by spending this hour with a child.
In celebration of May as National In-School Mentoring Month, the Stars Mentoring Program in Wetaskiwin chose Lynn Workun and Arika as representatives of the program. A student at C B McMurdo School, Arika has been a part of the program for three years, and has been paired with Workun for the last two. During that time, Arika has done really well, and looks forward to the time and activities they share. The consistent one-on-one time with a caring adult is the simple magic of the program.
There is a continuing need for more mentors in the program so that more children can benefit from the supportive, co-operative, consistent one-on-one friendship it offers. The volunteer mentors see the children for only that hour each week, so often do not recognize the tremendous difference they make as the children do better in school, attend school more regularly, have improved self-esteem, and relate better to others. As a Stars Mentoring volunteer, you can have the opportunity to be the person that makes a significant difference in a child's life. Now is the perfect time to decide to get involved so that the paper work and background checks can all be done ready for a September match with a student. For more information, or to start the process, contact the program organizer, Jessica Remple, at 780-352-4643 ext. 39, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.wetaskiwinyouth.ca
Within each school, School Liaison Staff, with input from teachers, help to recognize the children who would benefit from a mentoring one-on-one relationship with an adult volunteer. A box of activity supplies including craft materials, games and other materials is provided for the child and mentor to use during their weekly hour together. A time is arranged which fits both the mentor's schedule, and the child's school schedule, and they meet in the child's school where they do things they both enjoy, such as playing games, reading, talking, making crafts, whatever provides an enjoyable background to getting to know each other.
The Provincial Chapter of Alberta IODE has been contributing significant financial support to the Stars Mentoring Program in Wetaskiwin since 2008. Diane Duce, provincial president of the IODE, lives in Wetaskiwin, so is especially pleased with this support, and to observe the work of the program here. The IODE was founded in 1900 as a national women's charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals through education support, community service, and citizenship programs.
The Boys & Girls Club of Wetaskiwin's Stars Mentoring Program provides a means through which an adult may become a mentor to a child, and through the resulting friendship become a reliable positive influence in that child's life. However, as anyone who has worked with children knows, this is really a win-win situation, because adults in close relationship with children also grow and learn through the experience.