Heartland Youth Center calls for volunteers during Mentorship Month – Stettler Independent

As part of Mentoring Month in January, Stettler Big Brothers Big Sisters is issuing another call for volunteers.

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

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

Time commitments for volunteers are two to four hours per week.

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

According to Mentoring Coordinator Christel Shuckburgh, about 70% of the children on the list are boys, which proves a challenge because far fewer adult men choose to volunteer to be mentors.

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

“We have trouble bringing in male volunteers. We are really targeting this (group).

While on the waiting list for a mentor, the boys are invited to participate in a monthly group that meets one Thursday a month after school for a few hours. Volunteers are also invited to facilitate this program.

When the opportunity arises, the Thursday group will meet on a weekend to participate in activities, such as car shows, depending on what is happening.

Stettler’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program also offers a high school teen mentorship program that has just been reinstated after being knocked down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the teen program, 9th graders can train to become mentors and then are paired with younger students from elementary or Catholic schools.

“They start the process in 9th grade, and then they can frame the rest of their high school career,” Shuckburgh said.

The experience students gain through mentoring can be used on their resumes, can count as volunteer hours toward graduation, and open doors to different scholarships, according to Schuckburgh.

The Stettler Big Brothers Big Sisters program has been operating in the community since 1983.

“It’s a proven program,” Shuckburgh said.

“There have been a ton of great mentors over the years.”

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

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