The non-profit mentorship program in Calgary is in need of more volunteers as hundreds of kids are hoping for a match, with some waiting years.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters pairs youngsters with a local role model, giving them someone to talk to and share experiences with.
Ellie Luscombe, 9, was matched with a mentor through her school when she was in Grade 2.
“I just like seeing Alana – it makes my whole week better,” Ellie said.
Her mom, Shandice, said before Ellie joined the program, she was having issues making friends.
“It’s definitely increased her social skills within the school,” Shandice said. “It’s helped her to feel more confident in creating more friendships with other students, and just to really help her with feeling comfortable.”
But it’s not only Ellie who’s excited about the get-together each week, it’s something her mentor, Alana Humphreys, looks forward to as well.
“There’s always something that I take away from it,” Humphreys said.
“Ellie teaches me a lot.”
Ellie was Humphreys’ first match through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program and over the years she’s been able to watch Ellie’s personality blossom.
“There’s been a lot of wonderful learning and growth and changes that I’ve seen within her,” Humphreys said.
“It’s extremely rewarding.”
She hopes others will take the leap and become a role model to one of the many kids waiting for their mentor.
“I would encourage anyone and everyone that… if there was even just like a hint of intrigue, to follow that. Because someone out there… you really could make an impact on their life,” Humphreys said.
Shandice said she is incredibly grateful for the bond her daughter and Humphreys share and hopes it will become a lifelong friendship.
“This has been an amazing experience for her. And I just really hope that they can continue to have this relationship because it’s been nothing but positive,” Shandice said.
If you’re interested in signing up to be a mentor through the school-based program, or traditional community program, visit the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Calgary and Area website for information on how to apply.