Skipping rocks, playing video games, and Facetime conversations can go a long way for some Cochrane youth.

Jodi McKay from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area says there is a need for mentors right now in Cochrane.“Right now we have about 17 young people waiting for a Big Brother/Big Sister in Cochrane, and we have about seven volunteers that have stepped forward so far. So really, we need to double that number”

“About 70% of our young people who are waiting for a mentor are young boys, the average age is around 12 to 14. If you have ever wondered, could I be a big brother? Connect with us, we can answer any questions.”

“We need those big brothers to step up for these young boys.”

While the entire world has had to change its day-to-day operations over the past year, she says their team of staff and volunteers adjusted quickly.

“It’s been great. Our staff has worked with the volunteer mentors and they have gone to Zoom. Some of them are FaceTiming they're having maybe a few shorter little connections.” 

“They did like a cooking activity together, we have some of the matches involved watching the World Junior Hockey back in winter. There have been some really creative ways that they've stayed connected that also when restrictions have allowed for them, they've been able to safely get outside, go for walks and do some outdoor things as well.”

McKay says their teen mentors in Cochrane have not skipped a beat.

“We've had a long-standing, really good mentoring program with teens in Cochrane through a lot of the schools, and even our teen mentors have pivoted and they're meeting virtually once a week. They meet with their elementary little and they chat about things, they are playing virtual games together in that safe environment, so it's been really great to see that the relationships are still staying connected.”

She says that they have the best stories from their volunteer mentors.

“I had a big brother tell me a while ago, he said, it's my favourite part of the week. I get to get outside and go skip rocks down by the river. I haven't done that since I was 10 or 12. I get to play a video game, make some pizza, talk about Marvel movies that are coming out. You can be the reason this young person laughs that week, the reason that young person had some fun that weekend.”

If you are interested in becoming a mentor for a youth in Cochrane, learn more about volunteering here.