Monday, 24 August 2015

Meet a Mentor: Gord Humphrey

Mentor Profile: Gord Humphrey
If you live in Port Perry, or went to Port Perry High School, you probably know (the now retired teacher) Gord Humphrey.  Gord has been a  BBBS mentor since retiring 5 years ago, and as of 2013  an active Board Member.
In the 5 years he’s been with us, Gord has been an In-School mentor to 5 boys. In-School Mentoring is a program sponsored  by BBBS in which mentor and mentees meet for 1 hour a week in school.  There is no formal contact in the  summers but, in continuing relationships, things pick up again as soon as school starts in September.
At present Gord has 3 mentees all of whom go to RH Cornish, with one in grade 6 and 2 in grade 8.  Each of Gord’s boys have different interests so Gord gets to participate in a wide range of activities in the 3 hours a week he’s mentoring. Ryan really likes sports, so he and Gord play volleyball, football, and basketball, and compete with each other throwing the javelin, something that Ryan is exceptionally good at.  Ethan is really into the card game Magic, so much of the time with Ethan is  spent playing Magic with Ethan being patient while teaching Gord how to play and the complex strategies found in the game. Bryan is up for anything; often sports, baseball, basketball and wallball being favourites  but Brian also enjoys indoor activities including building with Lego and Kinect.
Gord says that he has a pretty good bond with all 3 boys. Each of his mentees is unique but the time together has allowed Gord to know  them as individuals and so learn how to talk and interact with each of them.  Not only does he think that the impact on the kids is profound, but mentoring is fulfilling for him, as well. “Most of my extra-curricular activities are volunteer-based, you know, doing something that I think is worthwhile, and in school mentoring certainly seems to be worthwhile” says Gord.
Gord says that being a mentor is very similar to being a teacher, but has an even closer parallel in  being a sports coach. Gord has been a coach all of his adult life, and being a coach he feels is all about mentoring with sport as the vehicle to influence kids in positive ways. Gord feels that being involved in the community is important, and he says “In school mentoring with BBBS is one way I can feel good about myself and have a positive impact on someone else.”
Gord is looking forward to the fall so he can see the boys again  and hear what they have been up to. He is looking forward to seeing what this next  year brings!

If you're interested in learning more information about our mentoring programs, please call Cheryl Holmes at 905-985-3733 ext 2. 

Friday, 21 August 2015

Guest Blogger: Big Sister Becky Lawlor

Written by Becky Lawlor

I have been the Mentoring Coordinator at Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham for approximately one year and a half. I have been a mentor in the In-School Program since April 2014 and I have seen the impact mentoring can have on a child, not only through my work at Big Brothers, but throughout my own match. Being the Mentoring Coordinator I am continuously talking about how a mentor can impact a child, and I am able to speak of my experience and express the excitement that comes from mentoring. 

When I started mentoring my mentee in April of 2014 I looked at the In-school Mentoring Program as spending time together and having fun while working towards goals. Little did I know this mentoring experience would bring me a new perspective. I look forward to my time with my mentee and it brings me comfort that I have had a positive impact on her life in some ways. Now, my mentee and I are in the In-School Program as well as the traditional program so we can see each other over the summer break. On the weeks that I see her in school, we enjoy playing outside on the playground, throwing a ball around or playing in the gym and making up new games. My mentee enjoys being active, so we plan a lot of our activities around being up and moving. 

During the time that we have been matched, we have got to know each other on a friend level. She knows that she is able to talk to me about anything and that I will listen to her, be there for her and offer suggestions if she wants help. I enjoy talking and being with my mentee because she is so enthusiastic and full of life. Seeing the excitement and happiness that she has when I come and see her at school or when I pick her up in the summer is an awesome feeling and it shows that she really enjoys our time together. Being a “Big Sister” is rewarding because you are able to celebrate your mentee’s successes and see how happy they are when they achieve goals or get a good grade on a test.

Being a Mentor has brought me a close friendship with an awesome girl! This match made me want to be there for another child, so I began mentoring another child in the In-School Program in May 2015. Mentoring does not only have an impact on the child, it has an impact on the mentor as well. I am looking forward to the upcoming school year so I am able to mentor in the school setting again.

If you're interested in learning more information about our mentoring programs, please call Cheryl Holmes at 905-985-3733 ext 2.  

Monday, 17 August 2015

Guest Blogger: Big Brother Dave Stell

Written by Dave Stell

Hey, I know what you are thinking. "I don't have time." or "I don't have anything to offer as a 'Big'".
You are only fooling yourself, my friend.

As a Big Brother/Sister, or a mentor, you have the time and believe me, as far as these kids are concerned, you definitely will make a difference in their lives.

I have a crazy schedule most weeks. Two teen kids of my own with activities, my own sports and other volunteer work. So when I signed up years ago, I was concerned about the time. But the mentor program made it easy. One hour a week. I started out just visiting my little brother during my lunch hour. It didn't take much time and my employer supported it 100 per cent. It looks good on the company if the staff volunteer! So what's a little longer lunch once a week to them?

There, that's settled. Now what do you have to offer? Just show up and be a friend. Listen. Play. That's all. And they will love it. Having another adult to care enough about them to show up and care is HUGE.

Big Brothers/Sisters does a great job of matching you up with a 'little' with the same interests. I'm a sports nut, and through many school years now, I've played so much one-on-one dodgeball and floor hockey. And I've enjoyed every minute. It's fun, not work.

Come on. Step up and help out. There's a child out there waiting for your friendship.

I love being a Big Brother mentor.

-Dave Stell 

If you're interested in learning more information about our mentoring programs, please call Cheryl Holmes at 905-985-3733 ext 2.  

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Meet a Mentor: CTV's Lance Brown

photo credit: CTV

Meet a Mentor: Lance Brown

CTV's Sports Anchor and Director, Lance Brown, has been an In-School Mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Durham (BBBSND) for over 10 years! "I became involved in BBBSND through Margie Ayres, whom I’ve known for some years.  She was aware that I had been a Big Brother in Toronto and asked if I might like to mentor," says Lance.

During Lance's time with us, he's mentored 3 boys in the Uxbridge area. "I think it’s a terrific way to give back," says Lance. "I’ve been very fortunate in life and I love kids, so it’s a terrific 'guy' way to help, I think."

Lance has been matched with his current Little for a year, and knows that just being there each week is what his mentee really needs. "I’m seeing some progress with my mentee. Nothing dramatic, and I know you’re not supposed to expect much, and I don’t..but it’s nice to see the little fellow coming along a bit,"says Lance. If the weather is nice, they love to be outside together playing sports, but if they are inside, they enjoy playing chess and other board games.

When asked if there is anyone in his life who plays a supportive role for his mentoring, Lance says "My wife is outstanding.  Our kids are great, too.  I came from a terrific family and that probably best set the table for my interest in this.  BBBSND is great too."

Lance explains why he continues to mentor children in our community: "It just makes you feel good.You’re doing something for someone else and, to start, someone you’ve never met, " says Lance.

"Every once in a while you’ll get an indication that you’re making a difference and that makes it all worthwhile."

If you're interested in learning more information about our mentoring programs, please call Cheryl Holmes at 905-985-3733 ext 2.