Rob Lewis, executive director at Youth HQ, accepts the official proclamation of Big Brothers Big Sisters Month from Mayor Tara Veer. (Photo courtesy of Youth HQ)

September declared Big Brothers Big Sisters month in Red Deer

Group is looking to add 75 new mentors in 2020

September is being recognized as Big Brothers Big Sisters Month.

In a proclamation, Mayor Tara Veer and council have recognized the ongoing need for mentoring support in the community.

“This month is critical as we focus on children’s health and well-being, especially during the current pandemic,” said Rob Lewis, executive director at Youth HQ.

“With students returning to school under new circumstances, we want to ensure they’re supported in whatever means necessary – and that includes mentoring. Mentoring is an essential service; it doesn’t stop and never did.”

During the pandemic, Big Brothers Big Sisters programs in Red Deer and central Alberta offered virtual meetings beginning in March and continued to support its mentoring programs throughout the summer.

More recently, mentoring has continued virtually and in-person where possible.

With the ongoing pandemic, and financial hardship faced by many Alberta families, mentors are needed more than ever to help youth through these trying times, says the group.

“Whether they are at home or in the classroom, we know that Big Brother Big Sisters mentors will continue to support students through mentoring programs, encouraging engagement and strengthening mentees’ motivation to achieve,” said Matthew Chater, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada in a release.

The central Alberta group is on the lookout for volunteers with diverse backgrounds and lived experiences to support children and young adults who are waiting for an adult mentor.

In January, they set a goal of recruiting 75 new adult mentors this year and have added 30 so far.

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