Submitted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County
Canadian Tire Perth Supports Big Brothers Big Sisters and the After School Program (ASP) - Back Row from Left: Natalie , Sarah, Jen, Shawnee. Middle Row from Left: Alaisha, Katie, Kereah, Bobbi-Jo, Caitlyn, Bryden, Andre, Olivia. Front Row: from Left: Corbett, Mitchel - Submitted Photo
Perth - To continue with our celebration of 40 years of mentoring in Lanark County, this month we are featuring our After School Program (ASP). Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County, in partnership with Canadian Tire Perth and Jump Start, created an After School Program focusing on mentorship, healthy activity through sport and healthy eating and lifestyle choices.
The program began last year at The Stewart School in Perth and has expanded to include Queen Elizabeth School. The program offers children aged 7-12 an opportunity to participate in a two hour session after school, with mentors and peers, at no cost. Each session focuses on physical activity, a healthy snack and self-esteem and confidence building activities. Mentors are paired with up to four mentees each to allow for small group interaction as well as large groups. Often we have seen strong connections form between the mentors and the mentees, facilitating avenues for open communication and a safe place to hang out.
Canadian Tire Perth and JumpStart are also supporting After School Programming in Lanark in partnership with the Lanark Community Health Centre.
After speaking with the children (mentees) in the program it was clear they are gaining so much from their time at the program. Mentees commented that the enjoyed “playing different and fun games each week that they never tried” and “spending time hanging out with their friends”. The mentor volunteers in the program see great benefits as well such as, “It’s a great way to spend some of my free time helping kids” and “I have mentored in other programs with BBBS and there is just something about it; the kids are always so fired up to be there”.
This program has been more successful then we could have imagined. The support we have received from The Stewart School and Queen Elizabeth School, as well as the funding through Canadian Tire Jump Start, has allowed us to serve over 100 children this year through ASP alone. We truly started something with this idea that grew into a dynamic, ever-growing program that allows children and volunteers to grow through relationship and skill building. For more information about volunteering as a mentor in our ASP please contact the agency at 613-283-0570.