Big Brother Big Sister set to launch new integration programme

In light of growing demand for the programme from migrant families now living in Mayo, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ireland is looking for adult volunteers to help young people make the successful transition into Irish society.

The new initiative is specifically aimed at providing mentoring support to young people aged 10 to 18 years, who are new to the Castlebar and the wider Mayo region. It operates by matching young people up with adult volunteers in the community. Through flexible weekly meetings, the volunteer helps them to become more proficient in the English language; help them understand Irish culture and empower them to become confident and active members of society.

Volunteers are asked to share just one hour with a young person each week. Together they participate in such things as football, pool, shopping, golf, cinema and walking, etc. The time commitments are very flexible, where volunteers and young people meet at times that suits both of them.

When explaining about this new initiative Peter Duffy, project officer with Big Brothers Big Sisters stated: “Moving to Ireland from other countries is a life changing event for most young people. They have to make many significant life adjustments including language, school, Irish culture, meeting new people, and making new friendships. I believe that through Big Brother Big Sister, volunteers can make a positive difference and assist these young people in making that transition to Irish life.

“At present we have young people from all parts of the world looking forward to being matched in the Big Brother Big Sister Programme, including Eastern Europe, Asia and various countries in Africa.”

As well as applying individually, the programme also encourages groups of friends to get involved together. They receive training and are fully supported by a professional youth worker.

For brochure and application form contact Mayo BBBS regional office, The Mall, Castlebar, telephone 094 906 0417/086 383 5859 or log onto www.bbbsireland.ie

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