A social program that had its trial beginnings in Rimbey last year, has become firmly entrenched in the community and is now expanding to Bluffton.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rimbey celebrated its one-year anniversary in August and is being highlighted again this month as September is Big Brothers Big Sisters Month.
Program director Paula Madu said there are 20 young people matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister in Rimbey and six youngsters are on a waiting list.
Madu is pleased with the response the public has had to the program.
“It has been exceptional,” she said. “The school is so excited about the program and so happy with the way things went last year. They very much believe in it and agree there has been lots of positive spin offs.”
Madu said businesses have also played a major role in the success of the program, as they have been willing to give employees the time off to spend time with their little brother or sister.
The program is to begin at Bluffton School.
“We are actively recruiting mentors in that area,” Madu said. “And we have an agreement with Bluffton School to commence the program this fall.”
The Big Brothers Bg Sisters program matches children who may benefit from interaction with a caring adult mentor.
These mentors spend one hour one day a week with an elementary school child. The activities the child and mentor chose to do vary and can include reading, game playing, spending time in the gym, going for a walk, singing or simply talking.
Traditional matches involve spending more time with the child in a variety of settings.
“Simply giving of your time is what mentoring is all about,” said Madu.
On Sept. 12, Mayor Sheldon Ibbotson declared September to be Big Brothers Big Sisters Month in Rimbey.
He said evidence-based research shows the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring model contributes directly to increased academic achievement, better family and peer relationships, a substantially lower reliance on social assistance, reduced criminal behavior and a more successful transition from school to work.
Anyone interested in becoming involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Rimbey may contact Paula Madu at 403-843-1066.