Youth centre’s guidance mentors, strengthens kids

The Heartland Youth Centre runs on a school-year calendar, from September until the end of June, plus additional summer programs.

Dakota Derr waves as she looks up from her sticker project at the Heartland Youth Centre in Stettler. Derr is a second-generation youth centre member

Dakota Derr waves as she looks up from her sticker project at the Heartland Youth Centre in Stettler. Derr is a second-generation youth centre member

The Heartland Youth Centre runs on a school-year calendar, from September until the end of June, plus additional summer programs.

The programs are open to children between the ages of six and 18.

Through the Big Brother Big Sister program, the centre tries to connect young boys and girls who register with mentors from the community who can help provide a nurturing older-sibling relationship with a child.

This program accepts children year-round and is broken into three sub-groups: community matches, which matches a youth with a mentor for two to four hours of time together per week.

The In-School mentoring program will match a teen or adult mentor with students in a school environment, helping them with schoolwork.

Finally, the Rainbows program partners children who have suffered a loss in their lives, through death, divorce, or other “transition” with a mentor who has suffered a similar loss, providing them with someone who knows how they are feeling.

While Big Brothers Big Sisters is a more one-on-one mentoring program, the Boys and Girls Club offers mentoring in a group setting. The club offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities for $20 per child or $45 per family of three or more children.

The club lineup includes an afterschool drop-in program, which has supervised periods where children can play arcade games, play in the gym, take advantage of the craft corner or Internet room — all while making friends.

The club also has other features, including Kid Power, a program designed to help children burn off excess energy in crafts and games with others the same age, all while teaching social and personal skills; Art Attack, a program designed specifically around different artistic endeavors; Power Up!, a science and technology-based program that also includes photography; a French for beginners program; Kids in the Kitchen, where youth learn to eat healthy and plan and cook healthy foods.

For teenagers, there’s a teen drop-in on Thursdays, as well as courses in leadership.

For more information on the Heartland Youth Centre programs, phone 403-742-5437.

reporter1@stettlerindependent.com