At BBBSCSI, we believe that unlocking a child’s true potential creates a future where anything is possible. It’s predicted that by 2020 mental illness will be Canada’s leading health concern. Every child deserves the chance to thrive, which is why we offer Mentoring and Social-Emotional Learning Strategies to support them. These address the goal of developing thoughtful, socially responsible youth. We embody the principles of diversity, welcoming any race, religion, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
We offer an extensive variety of In-School Mentoring Programs, including one to one and group. These effective and evidence-based programs are delivered to elementary school students in a variety of communities throughout the Central and Southern Interior of British Columbia, with Satellite Offices in Kelowna, Kamloops, and Cranbrook.
These programs are designed to increase empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation, therefore showing to enhance 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 on how to build 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.
These services are available students identified by teachers, principals or counselors that are in need of and would benefit from additional attention through mentorship. In-school mentoring services are open to all students.
As we work in direct partnership with local school districts, all students and classes must be referred by a school staff. Please contact us directly to have our services in your school.
BBBSCSI’s in-school mentoring services are offered to local schools, during school hours. These are done in person or virtually.
We offer One-to-One Mentoring, which is led by a local adult or teen with the supervision, guidance, and support of a BBBSCSI Mentoring Facilitator. This provides children and youth with a role model and friend to talk to and share their experiences of growing up with. All of our volunteers go through an extensive screening and training process.
The Group Mentoring services we offer are research and evidence-based and provide tools for a variety of things our children and youth may be experiencing. These are led by professionally trained BBBSCSI staff.
Mentors meet with their mentees and engage in activities such as board games or crafts, or just hang out on school grounds. The mentor meets with their mentee for one hour a week for the duration of the school year. Matches do not meet over the summer break, during other school holidays, or outside of school hours.
The Teen mentoring program provides children and youth in elementary schools with a role model from their local high school. The program is delivered during school hours in a group format made up of multiple 1-1 mentee and mentor matches. Matches connect while playing games, doing fun activities and/or hanging out and talking. They meet for one hour, once a week on school grounds for the school year. The Teen Mentoring program allows for the youth 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.
This is offered for Mentees in Grades 1-7 and Mentors in Grades 9-12.
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At Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central and Southern Interior, we believe that every young person deserves the chance to thrive, which is why we offer Mentoring and Social-Emotional Learning Strategies for local children and youth at no cost to our communities. These programs are designed to increase empathy, self-awareness, and self-regulation, cognition, kindness, communication skills, and more.
Please direct any questions you have to our Program Manager
Go Girls! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds! (Grades 5-7)
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 Girls! program consists of 4-7 mentoring sessions, each 30-45 minutes long. Each session is structured around three themes: physical activity, balanced eating, and self-esteem. This is offered virtually or in a classroom setting when available.
Game On ! (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 they are presented with a fun program. To achieve this, the program includes many games that encompass a wide range of purposes: to simply have fun (being active) but also to address more serious topics and issues.
Each session is loosely structured around three themes: physical activity, healthy eating, and self-esteem, and communication skills. Icebreakers are interwoven through the themes to encourage participants to get to know each other and the mentors. Nutrition activities are hands-on and engage participants in many discussions about eating habits and steps to choose the most nutrient-rich food and drinks for their growing bodies. Finally, communication activities incorporate a range of stereotypes and body image activities as self-esteem-building exercises.
Study Buddy Program (Grades 2-7)
The Study Buddy Program matches students in Grades 2 – 7 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 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 and increase school attendance
- Enhance educational goal setting
- Decrease disruptive behaviour in school
Study Buddies work together to set appropriate educational goals for the Mentee/Little. With the support of a Study Buddy tutor, Little Study Buddies are encouraged and equipped to improve their educational performance and meet their academic goals, which contributes to their overall self-esteem and well-being.
Apply to be a Study Buddy Little/Mentee or Mentor here and send the completed forms to email@example.com
Kindness Program (Grades K-2)
This 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. This is offered virtually or in a classroom setting when available.
Social-Emotional Learning Strategies (K-7)
These Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) strategies are based on the process that 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. It is also grounded in the tenants of neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness. These strategies provide students with an immersive discovery experience and daily practices to strengthen their ‘toolbox’. It encourages positive behaviour, improves learning, and increases empathy, optimism and compassion. These strategies are offered to local classes for 30 minutes once a week, over the course of 9-15 weeks.
Ignite Big Futures (Grades 10-12)
Ignite Big Futures (IBF) is a career-readiness program offered to high school students. IBF 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. IBF 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 or in a classroom setting when available
The Youth Mental Health Program (Grades 9-12)
The Youth Mental Health Program consists of 6 virtual sessions. 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, 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 that was taught in-class to secondary students over a 4-day period (1 hour per day) has now been reconstructed into a 6-session online format. The sessions include PowerPoint, video clips, self-care tools, and reflection questions to enhance learning.
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