With the aim to offer strong and continued support for community children and youth, Rimbey’s Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club has appointed Tamara Greer as the new program director.
Greer, a Rimbey resident for almost a decade shared her love for the town and passion for community service as inspiration to join the club and further local youth mentorship opportunities.
“I see results from a positive role model for youth to have that ripple effect towards the community that they can bring out and branch out from,” said Greer. “I am very much wanting to expand the program and bring out the awareness to Rimbey and the surrounding area in regards to it and what we do. I also really hope to get rid of the stigma that some people might have on the program and what it offers.”
Greer said when youth have a positive role model in their life, it shows in everything they do.
“It definitely supports the children and youth of Rimbey. When you have an unbiased, non-judgemental, active listening, positive role model and you start building that relationship with the youth, you really receive the rewards and they receive the rewards and they can now start offering what they are getting from that positive role model, out into their schooling, and towards their parents, siblings, and peers.”
Before joining the club, Greer went to school for community service work and addictions counselling and also worked for Rimbey FCSS for about five years.
“I have always really been passionate about youth and what the program is able to do for mentorship. I am very passionate about the community of Rimbey, I have been here for nine years so far. I have three daughters and I have only seen them thrive in this community. So, I wanted to, with my schooling, start doing something with community service, and this job came about.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club is a sister agency with the Ponoka Youth Centre. The program matches youth in the community with an adult mentor. A child can be referred by their parents, teachers, or the social worker at school.
“Traditional match is where we like to have them in-school based for one full year and if they start building that relationship and that bond then we can transition them into a traditional match and that is considered to be a community based, and that would mean they can go to Lacombe corn-maze or they can go out to a restaurant, there just are a little bit more options for it,” said Greer.
She said the club, being a non-profit organization always welcomes monetary donations and anyone interested in volunteering.
“It only takes an hour a week to do mentorship. So, if anybody is willing to become a mentor then that would be a very greatly amazing thing for the community,” said Greer. “If you have a need to serve and have a beautiful compassionate heart, (someone) who loves children, that’s all that we are really looking for. Somebody who can be committed for a full year for the child. We don’t like to see a lot of transitions between the mentors and the children. We really like to see a long-standing bond and relationship that comes out of it. Somebody who doesn’t have a lot of expectation coming in as well and somebody who just really wants to have some fun, play games and do activities with youth.”
Mentors receive training around becoming a big brother or a big sister. Those interested can reach out through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rimbey Facebook page or email Greer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program is able to offer in-person sessions conducted at Church of the Nazarene during school hours. Greer said they ensure the sessions don’t coincide with any core subject classes.
“I absolutely am loving the position right now and what I am looking forward to is seeing the program expand and just receiving more mentors and more mentees and having more bonds and relationships between them,” said Greer. “I also really want to get rid of the stigma that the children involved in this program are coming from a broken-down home because that’s not what it is about. It’s just for any child who is wanting someone to play games with, or just has that hour to sit and listen to them.”
The club is hosting Santa Bids for Kids online auction from Dec. 3 to Dec. 6. The auction is available for registration and viewing at 32auctions.com/SantasBidsRimbey2021.