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Big Brothers seeking adults to mentor students

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is looking for 20 people in the Tri-Cities area to volunteer one hour each week on school grounds with a boy or girl.

Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver is looking for 20 people in the Tri-Cities area to volunteer one hour each week on school grounds with a boy or girl.

Better known for the typical Big Brothers program, the charity is currently promoting their In-School Mentoring Program, a flexible volunteer opportunity with a minimal time commitment for both male and female mentors.

The four Tri-Cities elementary schools that are currently offering the program are Miller Park and Rochester in Coquitlam, Central in Port Coquitlam and Moody in Port Moody.

"Contrary to popular belief, Big Brothers doesn't only offer programs to children without fathers," explains Joanne Kautz-Allard, program director at Big Brothers. "Children today are faced with many challenges from low self-esteem to language barriers. The In-School Program is yet another way we can be a resource to kids who need some one-to-one time."

Kautz-Allard is also quick to point out another misconception - that applicants to the program must be professionals or experienced with children. The fact is many volunteers are students or working people who simply don't have the opportunity to interact with children in their personal lives. Big Brothers accepts volunteers from varying situations providing they are 18 or older and pass a criminal record check and eager to make a difference.

Striving to help at-risk children, Big Brothers has aggressive goals to prevent behaviours that will take children down a negative path in life. In 2011/'12, its goal is to match 1,051 children with positive adult mentors. Those interested may visit bigbrothersvancouver.com.

There are estimates some 10,000 Lower Mainland children could benefit from a mentor.

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