At BBBSCSI, we believe that unlocking a child’s true potential creates a future where anything is possible. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, “[a]bout one in seven young people in [British Columbia]—or 14%—will experience a mental illness at some point. . . . [B]etween 50 and about 70% [of mental illnesses] show up before the age of 18, so they can have a huge impact on a child’s development. Mental illnesses can affect how well kids do in school and how they form relationships with other kids and adults. Mental illnesses, if not treated early, can be disruptive enough to a kid’s normal development that it can affect them for the rest of their lives.” Every child deserves the chance to thrive, which is why we offer Mentoring and Social-Emotional Learning Strategies to support them. Our programs address the goal of developing thoughtful, socially responsible youth. We also value diversity. BBBSCSI welcomes all people regardless of race, religion, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
We offer an extensive variety of one-to-one and group programs, and we have pivoted to offer these essential resources virtually. These are now offered both during and outside of school hours.
These effective and evidence-based programs are delivered to elementary, middle and high school students in a variety of communities throughout the Central and Southern Interior of British Columbia. They are designed to increase empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation, therefore enhancing cognitive functioning, personal success, friendships, and resiliency in both students and communities. Mentoring is about the power of healthy relationships and helping children and youth reach their full potential.
Children and youth in our mentoring programs gain self-esteem, problem-solving skills, psychological resilience, self-expression, and skills for building positive relationships with peers and adults. Mentors experience a sense of discovery and enjoyment as they see the world of possibility open up through a child’s eyes.
All BBBSCSI staff and volunteers continue to follow Provincial Health and School District Guidelines. Our staff are fully vaccinated and volunteers are required to show proof of vaccination to apply to be a mentor with our agency.
ADULT AND TEEN ONE-TO-ONE MENTORING
Mentors meet with their Mentees virtually and engage in activities such as board games, crafts, or just hanging out. The Mentor meets with their Mentee for one hour a week, at the same time and day, for the duration of the agreed match period. BBBSCSI provides structured activities for several weeks of the match to support the Mentor and Mentee as they get to know one another. These activities guide them to intentionally build developmental relationships together.
The developmental framework is built upon the elements of expressing care, challenging growth, providing support, sharing power and expanding possibility. Additionally, the Teen Mentoring program allows for the Teen Mentors to grow as people, connect with others and give back to their community while earning volunteer hours towards high school graduation, post-secondary education, and employment opportunities.
One-to-One Mentoring is offered for Mentees in Grades 1-8, Teen Mentors in Grades 9-12, and Adult Mentors, who are 19 years and older. Matches can meet virtually or in-person.
Study Buddy Program (Grades 2-8)
The Study Buddy Program matches students in Grades 2–8 with a Teen or Adult Mentor. It is a one-to-one mentoring relationship that focuses on school work and building connections through a once-a-week tutoring session. Matches will spend 1 hour per week on a virtual video call together, where the Mentor will help the Mentee with their school work or any related skills they want to build upon and practice. Sessions run for a minimum 4-month period, including on evenings and weekends, with matches meeting on the same day and time each week, for the duration of the commitment. During the last 10 minutes of each session, the Mentor and Mentee will do a fun activity together to wrap-up the hour with a reward.
The program strives to do the following:
- Provide an academic role model
- Increase educational performance
- Promote the importance of staying in school
- Increase school attendance
- Enhance educational goal setting
- Decrease disruptive behaviour in school
Study Buddies work together to set appropriate educational goals for the Mentee. With the support of a Study Buddy Mentor, a Study Buddy Mentee is encouraged and equipped to improve their educational performance and meet their academic goals. Succeeding at their academic goals boosts a Mentee’s overall self-esteem and well-being.
One-to-One Mentoring is offered for Mentees in Grades 2-8, Teen Mentors in Grades 9-12, and Adult Mentors, who are 19 years and older. Matches can meet virtually or in-person. Study Buddy matches can meet during or outside of school hours.
Roots of Empathy
The Roots of Empathy program is delivered to elementary school children who are coached to recognize and connect with the vulnerability and humanity of a baby who visits their classroom throughout the school year with their parent(s), along with a trained BBBSCSI Instructor using a specialized curriculum. The experiential learning with the neighbourhood parent and infant is biologically embedded in the student’s brains as they observe this secure attachment relationship. Through guided observation the children label the baby’s feelings and intentions, learning the affective aspect of empathy (emotion) and the cognitive aspect of empathy (perspective-taking).
In Roots of Empathy, emotional literacy develops as children begin to identify and label the baby’s feelings, reflect on and understand their own feelings, then bridge to understand the feelings of others. Students are given opportunities to discuss their feelings and listen to the feelings of others. They also get to deepen their development of emotional literacy (affective empathy) and perspective taking skills (cognitive empathy), helping them to understand how their behaviour or words can hurt others. This enables children to build connections and healthy relationships which leads to inclusion and integration.
Social-Emotional Learning Strategies (K-7)
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Strategies is based on the processes by which children and youth understand and manage emotions, feel and express empathy, form and achieve goals, create and maintain positive relationships, and engage in responsible decision making. SEL Strategies is also grounded in the tenants of neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness. During SEL Strategies, students engage in immersive discovery experiences and daily practices to strengthen their ‘toolbox’. It encourages positive behaviour, improves learning, and increases empathy, optimism and compassion.
Topics covered include our brain, friendship, empathy, gratitude, kindness, perspective, growth mindset, optimism, staying positive and mindful awareness. Each session also includes a mindful movement break. SEL Strategies is a group program offered to classes as a 9–15-week course that meets once a week for 30 minutes. This program can be run virtually or in-person.
Go You! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds! (Grades 5-7)
Go You! (formerly Go Girls!) is a Group Mentoring Program for girls in Grades 5-7 that focuses on physical activity, balanced eating, and self-esteem. The single, most important goal of the program is to positively shape the lives of young women and girls by helping them build a positive self-image – setting them on a path to reach their full potential in life.
The Go You! program consists of 7 in-person mentoring sessions, each 1 hour long. Each session is structured around three themes: physical activity, balanced eating, and self-esteem. Topics include group dynamics, understanding influences on girls, setting goals and making decisions, boundary setting and assertiveness, and celebrating our successes. The Go You! program can be held virtually or in-person.
Game On! Eat Smart, Play Smart, Live Smart! (Grades 5-7)
The main goal of the Game On! Program is to develop an appreciation of the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle among boys in Grades 5-7. In addition, the program provides participants with the tools they require to implement an active, healthy lifestyle. Although outcomes are important to the program’s success, participants will best engage and learn if the program is fun. To increase engagement, the Game On! Program includes many games that encompass a wide range of purposes. The program aims to get the participants to have fun by being active, but it also addresses more serious topics and issues.
The Game On! program consists of 7 in-person mentoring sessions, each 1 hour long. Each session is structured around three themes: physical activity, healthy eating, and self-esteem. Topics include being a guy, media and marketing, making healthy choices, dealing with stress, and taking the lead. The Game On! program can be held virtually or in-person.
BIG Possibilities Mentoring (Grades 10-12)
BIG Possibilities Mentoring is a career-readiness program offered to high school students. It consists of 5 sessions where students learn about employability, professionalism, soft skills, technology in the workforce, digital footprints, networking, relationship-building, volunteering, and gaining work experience. Students complete self-assessments to evaluate their skills and to see where they could improve.
- Volunteering and Work Experience
- Networking and Relationship Building
- Technology and Digital Footprint
- Soft Skills
- Employability and Professionalism
BIG Possibilities Mentoring benefits students by teaching them important skills to help them build confidence and succeed in their future careers and volunteer experience. This is offered virtually via bbbscsimentoring.ca or in a classroom setting, when available.
FREE VIRTUAL RESOURCES
Scroll up for more on BIG Possibilities.
The Youth Mental Health Program (Grades 9-12)
The Youth Mental Health Program (YMHP) consists of 6 virtual sessions. Topics include stigma, depression and bipolar disorder, suicide awareness, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia and psychosis. By the end of this program, students will:
- Understand the role of stigma and how it can negatively impact someone needing to reach out for help
- Demonstrate an understanding of the main signs and symptoms of the major mental illnesses
- Demonstrate an understanding of what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis
- Identify common and local mental health resources
- Demonstrate an ability to use positive coping skills and strategies to enhance individual, school, and community mental health.
The instructor of the YMHP, Lori Veltkamp, worked as a Public Educator for the Canadian Mental Health Association in Brockville, Ontario for over 13 years. During this time, she developed and delivered a very successful program that addressed the requirements of the Ontario Secondary School Curriculum regarding mental health. This program was taught in-class to secondary students over a 4-day period (1 hour per day). Now, the YMHP is available as a 6-session online course. The sessions include PowerPoints, video clips, self-care tools, and reflection questions to enhance learning. The YMHP is offered virtually via bbbscsimentoring.ca.
Kindness Program (Grades K-2)
The Kindness Program is offered as 4 sessions to students in Kindergarten-Grade 2. The program focuses on respect, caring, inclusiveness, courage, responsibility, and integrity. Students learn how to practice these skills both in the classroom and at home. Students are invited to share an act of kindness they have observed over the week or have performed themselves. After the Facilitator introduces the session topic, students participate in different activities related to each topic for the remainder of the session.
The Kindness Program is offered virtually or in a classroom setting when available. There is also a pre-recorded version on bbbscsimentoring.ca that classrooms can use at their own pace.
10 Moves 10 Minutes
Workouts with Electra
Give your chair a break, and join Electra for a fun workout. It is worth it to get your body moving, even for as little as fifteen minutes! Exercise is great for your body and your mind:
- Take care of your heart and lungs by increasing your heartrate and getting your blood pumping;
- Let off some steam and boost your endorphins to improve your mood.
Find these workout videos on our mentoring website, bbbscsimentoring.ca.
GAME ZONE: SOLO, MULTIPLAYER
Connect with kids while playing fun games. Our mentoring website, bbbscsimentoring.ca, includes a list of kid-friendly virtual games that Mentees can explore with their Mentors. Follow the external links to access solo and multiplayer games, including card games, classic board games, more.
VIDEO LIBRARY: STORYTIME, SING ALONG, CRAFTS, LEARNING
There are lots of ways to spend time together with kids online. For example, you can listen to stories, sing, make something together, or learn something new. Mentors and Mentees can explore a collection of kid-friendly YouTube links on our mentoring website, bbbscsimentoring.ca.
ISOLATION SURVIVAL GUIDE: FOR FAMILIES AND THE YOUNG AT HEART
The MOST IMPORTANT thing we can all do is take care of our mental health and well being during these trying times.
You are not alone, stay strong, we are all in this together. What we think is how we feel. Try these mindset shifts when you find yourself getting caught up in fear and anxiety.
EMOTION COACHING: THE HEART OF RELATING TO CHILDREN & TEENS
Derived from the Gottman Institute, this resource will give you some of the tools you need to become an emotionally responsive person and in turn will help you foster emotional intelligence in children and teens.
Practicum Student Description:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central and Southern Interior is proud to collaborate with post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. to provide placements for Practicum Students. Under the direct supervision of BBBSCSI professionally trained staff, the Practicum Students are responsible for the general support of Mentoring Programs. Our agency ensures that students develop transferrable skills and have meaningful opportunities to support their learning.
To apply to be a Practicum Student with BBBSCSI please fill out a Volunteer Form online.
“Professional education is not education for understanding alone; it is preparation for accomplished and responsible practice in the service of others.” – Shutlman
I got my practicum at Big Brothers, Big Sisters for my winter placement, and I really enjoyed my time at the agency! It was a really positive experience, from which I learned to be more confident in my facilitation and planning skills; as well as how to work more effectively with, and teach kids and youth. I was also able to better see the real importance of mentorship; especially the effect it has on children’s’ lives, and I’m very grateful to our practicum supervisor for also mentoring us through this process. Overall, it has been a wonderful experience, and I would definitely recommend this placement to students looking for a practicum.
– Hannah Ryckman, 2019
My practicum was something that I was able to look forward to and was a positive experience for me. I have learned so much and I got the chance to work with youth and practice a variety of skills. It has been a good opportunity to see the areas that I need to work on and the areas that I do well in. I was especially pleased that I got to get an idea of what I can look forward to in my future as a Human Service Worker. I was able to reach all of my personal and learning goals, to focus on facilitation practice and also working in a mentoring role. I think these are vital skills that I will carry with me as I work in the field.
My coordinator was very thorough and always made sure that I was ready for the session to come. She gave us all the information before hand and included us in every way she could. I felt like an important and valued member of the programs. I would definitely recommend this program for anyone interested.
– Alyssa Quinton , HSWR student