First West Foundation’s purpose is to help create resilient and empowered communities, and this starts with encouraging resilient and empowered youth. With a Valley First Community Endowment grant of $5,950 to the Go Girls! group mentoring program, facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Kamloops & Region, the First West Foundation is thrilled to empower and brighten the lives of young girls in Kamloops and area.
“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 an encouraging path to reach their full potential in life,” says Lisa Nguyen, BBBS Go Girls! mentor.
The Go Girls! program is already offered Canada-wide by Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies, but it is a new service in Kamloops that impacted more than 100 girls ages 9–11 in the region by the end of June 2016. Facilitated at schools over an 8-10 week period, girls participate in weekly two-hour group mentoring sessions. Each group consists of up to three adult female mentors and up to twelve youth (one adult to four children ratio). Go Girls! mentors are screened, trained and supported by professional staff, and the curriculum is developed by Big Brothers Big Sisters national staff in partnership with Ontario Physical and Health Education Association.
Girls participate in fun, educational games, activities and discussions that focus on and encourage physical activity, balanced eating, healthy relationships, and positive self-esteem. Mentors support girls in dealing with emotional, social and cultural issues they may face. Not only do girls form supportive relationships with mentors, but they form supportive and invaluable bonds with their peers.
“The relationships they build, the values they learn, the self-esteem they gain, the mentorship they receive...it’s immeasurable for these young girls, and the reward for us as mentors is right there in their shining smiles,” says Nguyen. “They will hopefully grow up to share the same values, self-esteem and mentorship with the next generation.”
The Go Girls! program is another step towards realizing BBBS of Kamloops & Region’s vision of ensuring every child who needs a mentor has a mentor.
For 50 years, BBBS of Kamloops & Region has been making a positive difference in the lives of our community’s youth by delivering a range of youth mentoring programs. Our mission is to enrich the lives of young people by delivering and advocating for the highest quality volunteer-based mentoring programs.
Joanne Mason, Executive Director, BBBS of Kamloops & Region
t: 1-250-374-6134 (ext. 223)