BGC Cochrane and Area are very excited to announce that they are launching a new youth mentorship program.
Renita Bartlett, Coordinator of Youth Programs says it is, “Our mentorship program for youth, aged 13 to 17 and, and we're really, really excited to be able to offer this to our youth in the community as well as volunteers.”
Bartlett can speak firsthand about the positive influence a mentor can have on the life of a youth. She says, “I know for myself when I was growing up, I had a mentor and I still talk to that individual now it’s been many years, but they definitely helped change my life and steer me in the direction that I am which is I’ve been working with youth for 25 years now. So, mentorship can go a long way in the life of a child.”
Bartlett says, “Essentially, we’re looking for one-to-one mentors who are living in and around Cochrane that can connect with our youth. Some of the things that they will be doing is having fun while being a positive role model supporting the development of the youth’s strengths, building their self-esteem, and exposing them to fun and new interests.”
BGC Cochrane and Area are already partnered with Kids Up Front which provides experiences to deserving children and youth. They provide tickets to events like Flames games, Stampeders games, and other events, and mentors with the youth program will be able to tap into some of those resources.
The mentorship program will be launching in the fall, but BGC needs to get volunteers lined up now. Bartlett says, “I wanted to get the word out now because there will be some pre-match training that I want to do with our mentors and those will be around a kind of crisis intervention and safer space training. We’ll do some mentorship training online and some trauma-informed training as well. It just gives the opportunity for our mentors to get trained up before we match them with some cool kids in the community.”
Is there a specific type of mentor the BCG is looking for? The answer is no, Bartlett says, “We’re really looking for anyone. What we’ll do is take a look at the mentor’s interest and the mentee’s interest once we get youth coming in looking for mentors and we match based on that. So, there’s really no criteria, it’s pretty open.”
As far as the time commitment to being a volunteer mentor, Bartlett says between one to three hours a week but that is not written in stone and that could be online, in-person whatever works. BGC requests that the commitment be made for one year to provide more stability and support for the youth.
If you feel that you can make a difference in a youth’s life by being a volunteer mentor, you are encouraged to email Renita for an application form.