Foróige’s Big Brother Big Sister Programme is seeking adult volunteers who would like to share their interests and hobbies with a young person who would benefit from the friendship.
BBBS is an internationally renowned youth mentoring programme that forms supportive friendships between a young person and an adult volunteer. The match meet once a week to take part in activities they both enjoy and the initial commitment is for one year. Activities carried out by participants on a weekly basis include arts and craft, soccer, computers, basketball, pool, walking, cooking, nature, fishing, and music.
BBBS is proven through research, by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway, to have positive outcomes for young people in terms of improving their wellbeing, increasing their support from others, improving their attitude towards education, and giving them a sense of hope for their future.
“By being a role model, Big Brothers and Big Sisters have a real impact on young people’s social and personal development,” said Mary Lynch, senior project officer with the BBBS programme.
Currently 125 young people are being supported through BBBS in both the community and the schools programme in Galway, but 44 young people are still ‘unmatched’, hence Foróige’s call for volunteers.
“We need volunteers to take an hour or two out of their weekly schedule, to do something positive for the young people,” said Ms Lynch. “The time commitment is very flexible, where the volunteer and young person organise each week a time that suits them, which can be at weekends or during the week.”
Volunteers who apply to the programme will be screened to determine their suitability. Prior to being matched volunteers will receive training regarding their role as a mentor and all volunteers will be supported by a professional staff member.