Doug Ellis

Former mill workers help local kids get a head start

Two local children are participating in the KidStart Mentoring Program, thanks to a $2,500 donation from CEP Chinook Local 630

Two local children are participating in the KidStart Mentoring Program, thanks to a $2,500 donation from CEP Chinook Local 630. KidStart is operated by The John Howard Society North Island (JHSNI) and is the only one-to-one mentoring program for children and youth in Campbell River and the Comox Valley.

This volunteer-based program connects caring adults with children (ages 6-18) for three hours of fun per week.

Most of the members of CEP Chinook Local 630 (paper makers) worked at the mill in Campbell River for several years. Doug Ellis, director of CEP Chinook Local 630, said donating to KidStart is a good fit for their members.

“The money was made from the hard working folks in Campbell River and Courtenay, and that’s where the money should stay. KidStart is helping kids in these communities, and that’s why we are supporting this program,” said Ellis.

Through making this donation, CEP Chinook Local 630 has become a KidStart Gold Champion sponsor for two children in the program, a 9-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy.

The girl describes her mentor as being “the best mentor ever! She’s the best friend I’ve ever had!”

Her family has been through some hard times in recent years, including homelessness and other crises. The support from a mentor means a great deal to them.

The boy’s Mom says, “I can’t thank you enough for helping my son get a male role model in his life. He’s never known his father or grandparents, and his mentor is like the Grandpa he’s never had.”

To become a Champion, donors choose from three levels of monthly sponsorship (Gold = $100/month, Silver = $50, Bronze = $25). Champions receive a profile of the child they are sponsoring (names are changed to protect privacy), annual updates, a Champion decal, and a tax receipt. Campbell River currently has 86 children on the waitlist for KidStart.

To find out more, contact Campbell River KidStart Coordinator Tara Jordan at 250-286-0611 or email tara@jhsni.bc.ca  Visit JHSNI on the web at www.jhsni.bc.ca/kidstartchampion.html