100th match only the beginning
Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrates milestone
Not only did it secure funding to expand in Hawera and find itself a base for mentors and mentees to meet in New Plymouth but, towards the end of the year, it celebrated it’s 100th match.
That means that there are 100 pairs of adult mentor and child mentees operating in Taranaki.
“We are now the biggest Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) programme in the country,” says programme manager Paul Lampe.
“Looking at other programmes around New Zealand it normally takes a long time for programmes like this to get established,”
“Taranaki has had has had phenomenal growth and just the calibre of volunteers coming forward is just outstanding.”
BBBS, which began in New Plymouth in late 2007, simply builds a caring relationship through matching a child in need with an adult mentor.
“One of our goals is always to ensure our matches are quality matches and we have longevity in our matches.
“It’s pleasing to see that as time progresses the length of our matches are also extending.”
Although BBBS requires volunteers to commit to a child for a year Mr Lampe has found that most volunteers opt to carry on with their assigned child.
Demand for the programme is high and there is a continual waiting list of referred children. It currently stands at about 30 children, mostly boys. To even the odds the programme wants more girls to be referred.
As there is always a waiting list there is also always a need for volunteers particularly in Inglewood, Waitara and New Plymouth. The next training sessions will be held in April.
“Now is a great time for people who have been thinking about being involved with us to come in and have a chat.”
The goals for the new year is to get Hawera’s branch established and to expand the programme around the region by making more `quality matches’.
Mr Lampe says the programme wouldn’t be the success it is without support from the police and sponsorship from Australian Worldwide Exploration and Taranaki Electricity Trust among others.