(Photo submitted)

(Photo submitted)

Heartland Youth Center puts out call for volunteers during mentoring month

Shuckburgh: ‘It’s a tried a true program.’

As part of mentoring month in January, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Stettler is putting out another call for volunteers.

The month-long initiative highlights the need for mentorship in the community while also explaining how mentorship works.

In short, the program based out of the Heartland Youth Center, takes adult volunteers from the community and matches them with youth who could use the positive adult presence in their lives.

Time commitments for volunteers are two-to-four hours a week.

Currently, the program has 10 community matches going with another 20 kids on the waiting list.

According to mentoring coordinator Christel Shuckburgh around 70 per cent of the kids on the list are boys, which proves a challenge as far fewer adult males choose to volunteer to be a mentor.

“We always have females coming in to volunteer,” said Shuckburgh.

“We have a hard time having males coming in to volunteer. We really target that (group).”

While they are on the wait list for a mentor, the boys are invited to participate in a monthly group which meets one Thursday a month after school for a couple of hours. Volunteers are also invited to facilitate that program.

When opportunities arise the Thursday group will meet on a weekend to take in activities, such as car shows, depending what is going on.

Stettler’s Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program also has a teen mentoring program in the high school which is just getting reestablished after getting knocked off track due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the teen program, Grade 9 students are eligible to take training to become a mentor, and are then matched with younger students from either the elementary or Catholic schools.

“They start the process in Grade 9, then they can mentor for the rest of their high school career,” said Shuckburgh.

The experience the students gain through mentoring can be used on their resume, can count as volunteer hours towards graduation and open the doors for some different scholarships, according to Schuckburgh.

Stettler’s Big Brothers and Big Sisters program has been operating in the community since 1983.

“It’s a tried a true program,” said Shuckburgh.

“There’s been a ton of excellent mentors over the years.”

Anyone looking for more information on the program, or to get information about volunteering, can contact the Heartland Youth Center at 403-742-5437.