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Article posted on March 11, 2015

Partnerships Creating Magic in Cold Lake

Bowl For Kids Sake
Bowl For Kids Sake

Mentoring is the simple act of building a friendship based on trust, support and fun, and it has a powerful effect on both young people and the caring adults who contribute their time and talents. Just ask long-time partners Cenovus, Imperial Oil, Alberta Human Services and FCSS Cold Lake, who have supported the work of Boys & Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters (BGCBigs) of Edmonton & Area in the community. Partnerships are also growing with United Way, Cold Lake High School, Lakeland Credit Union, and Staples – all to create more opportunities for kids to succeed.

The partnerships are helping BGCBigs have a greater presence in the community, coordinate in-school and community mentoring programs, and meet the needs of dozens of children and families in Cold Lake. On behalf of BGCBigs, thank you to these wonderful partners for supporting the Alberta’s Promise of “Caring Adults” and giving more young people the opportunity to reach out to caring role models.

The staff at BGCBigs would also like to share the impact of mentorship on one Big-Little mentoring duo in Cold Lake. This is the story of Janell and Kevin:

Since his match in 2012, Kevin has enjoyed learning to play the piano from his Big Sister Janell, a piano teacher. Now Kevin is teaching Janell.  This year their match goal is for Kevin to teach Janell to play chess. The fact that they are doing this on a Braille chess board is no deterrence to them.

Janell and her ‘seeing eye dog’, Sider, are often seen in the community, walking here and there, and one of the places they go is to Cold Lake Middle School, where they mentor Kevin most weeks. The match has entered its fourth school year and they are still enjoying each other’s company.

When the match was re-engaged this year, BBBS staff brought the new Braille Chess Game and the challenge was on. The tables had turned and Kevin immediately began helping Janell distinguish which pieces were which and naming them for her, gently guiding her fingers to feel their shapes as he explained the rules around what moves they can make.

Janell is up for the challenge. As Kevin explains the game, she stops him to ask questions and he patiently answers them. They also enjoy playing checkers and Tic Tac Toe. Another goal they have been discussing –  Kevin wants to learn to play the saxophone. And Janell says she can teach him, if she can find someone to give her a couple of lessons.

There is no limit to what mentors and mentees can learn from each other.

Special thanks to all funders of BGCBigs in Cold Lake, including FCSS Cold Lake, Alberta Human Services, and United Way.

Want to make a difference in the life of children in your community?  Reach out to local organizations such as BGCBigs to find a number of opportunities to fit your schedule. And if you live in Cold Lake, consider “Bowling For Kids Sake” on April 24 and 25 at the Marina Bowling Centre.

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

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