It can be tough being a kid – the uncertainty, the self-doubt. Every child deserves to have good role models but they aren’t all lucky enough to have one. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to fill that gap and become a role model for a child who needs one, here are five things you should know about the importance of mentoring, and how easy and fun it can be!
1. Mentors Truly Make a Difference
Did you know that children who are mentored experience increased self-esteem and develop healthier decision-making skills? Strong relationships with adult role models are extremely important for healthy childhood development, so it goes to show that something that may seem as simple as friendship can have a huge impact on the life of child! Something we hear consistently from families is that having a Big Brother/Buddy opens up new experiences for their child that they might not otherwise have had access to. For example, you might be able to share your love of photography with your “Little Brother/Buddy” and that might give way to a life-long passion or even a career path for for them.
2. The Most Important Thing is Spending Time Together
It can be hard to imagine what activities a child will like, especially when you’ve only just met and you’re just starting to get to know each other. Not to worry! You will be carefully matched with a Little Brother/Buddy based on your personalities and interests. We also regularly provide free event tickets and loads of suggestions for free or low-cost activities to make it easy for you. But what’s actually most important is the time you spend together developing a real friendship. For a child who needs a mentor, your presence means a lot, and having someone who spends time with them can have more of an impact than the kinds of activities you do together. Plus, you will be assigned a caseworker who is there to answer any questions that you may have and to offer activity ideas.
3. Mentoring Can Be Flexible!
We live in a fast-paced society – with work and school commitments, many people think they just don’t have the time to commit to being a mentor; but volunteering with Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver can fit any schedule! Whether you prefer to volunteer during the day or evenings/weekends, we have a number of different options available. There are even short-term (once a week for 8 weeks) opportunities and group-based options if you prefer to collaborate with other volunteer mentors just like you.
You might be certain that you wouldn’t have time, but maybe you have a friend who you think would make a great mentor. You can always refer them!
4. It Feels Good To Give Back!
Not only does mentoring have a huge impact on a child and their family, but the mentor benefits from the friendship as well! Mentoring helps you develop leadership skills and a sense of connection to your community. You get to be a positive influence for someone while having fun, which is a super rewarding feeling! Not to mention that adopting the responsibility of volunteering is a straight-forward way to develop more meaning into your life.
5. Becoming a Mentor Helps Fill a Critical Need for Volunteers!
Children in the Greater Vancouver area are waiting an average of 2 years to be matched with a volunteer mentor, and the wait is 3 years for children in Surrey, Richmond, and Tri-Cities. There is a critical need for volunteers to act as mentors to these children. You have the potential to reduce these wait times and provide support and mentorship to a child in your community. If you’ve ever thought about volunteering, now is the time.
Interested in making a difference in a child’s life? Click here to learn more and apply to volunteer.