Big Brothers needs volunteers ASAP

Volunteers are needed to mentor at-risk youth in the Lower Mainland – including White Rock.

  • Jan. 11, 2012 11:00 a.m.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver (BBGV) always needs volunteers but the organization is  currently emphasizing just how much it needs them right now.

In fact, the mentoring agency currently needs 372 volunteers throughout the Lower Mainland (including 29 in Surrey, White Rock and Delta) and the need is an urgent one. The urgency is not based on a quota.  Rather, the number is based on the need in the community.

“January is a critical volunteer recruitment time for us,” explains Joanne Kautz-Allard, program director at BBGV. “The closer we get to summer, the more drastic a drop in applications we see which means more kids sit on a wait list – vulnerable to the adversities facing them.”

While summer is several months away, the six- to eight-week intake process means volunteers who sign up right now won’t start volunteering until late February at the earliest. The timing is particularly imperative to the In-School Mentoring Program, which involves volunteer participation throughout the school year only. By early March, it is already too late for volunteers to join the program.

“We don’t want people to rush their decision to volunteer but if it is something they have considered for a time, we ask them to take the initiative and give us a call to get answers to their questions,” explains Kautz-Allard. “It is a commitment but most people find it’s not as time consuming as they initially think.

In fact, both men and women can take part in the flexible in-school program in just one hour each week.  The better-known Big Brothers program requires a two- to four-hour time commitment per week.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver offers mentoring programs to at-risk children. The one-on-one friendships allow children the benefit of a positive role model. Operating the Big Brothers Program, as well as two in-school programs also involving women and girls, Big Brothers main focus is to create friendships that will build confidence and create possibilities for children. There are estimates some 10,000 Lower Mainland children could benefit from a mentor.

To find out how you can volunteer, visit their website.

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