KidStart is looking for volunteers to help mentor kids aged 6-12. Photo by Bluetree Photography

KidStart is looking for volunteers to help mentor kids aged 6-12. Photo by Bluetree Photography

KidStart mentoring program seeks volunteers

Campbell Riverites invited to help youth ages 6-12

Can you share a joke? Skip rocks? Eat ice cream? Then you can help support a child in Campbell River.

The John Howard Society of North Island is looking for volunteer mentors for KidStart. KidStart is a mentoring program that connects children and youth ages 6-12 with carefully screened, trained, and supported adult volunteer mentors. Through role modeling and encouraging kids to participate in activities that build their confidence, mentors help children become more resilient and successful in the face of challenges. Many friendships continue into the teen years and beyond.

“KidStart is all about having fun. Mentors and mentees get together once a week to do things like hiking, biking, cooking, or playing board games,” said Jesse Herbach, Campbell River KidStart Coordinator. “Relationships are built through the activities mentors and mentees do together, and the kids get the benefits of having their own activity buddy and another trusted adult in their corner. Many of the mentors have commented to me on how much they like having an activity buddy.”

Each child in KidStart has experiences that indicate their need for extra support. The loss of a family member, challenges at school, or stresses at home are all reasons that a child may be identified as needing a supportive adult buddy. Kids may be referred to the program through family members and friends, school staff, or other care providers they are working with. Currently, there are more than 70 kids waiting for mentors in the Campbell River area. The benefits of mentoring are even more relevant now due to the social, mental health, and academic impacts that the pandemic has had on youth.

Becoming a volunteer mentor with KidStart is a great way to be involved in the Campbell River community. Mentor/mentee duos spend about three hours a week together, deciding as a pair how they want to spend their time. Mentors encourage their mentees to develop their own interests, support learning and skill building, and open doors for them to participate in community life. Mentors with varied interests and experiences are needed for this program’s success. At the moment, KidStart is especially seeking mentors who are men, Indigenous people of all genders, and people who have experience or interest in supporting kids with physical or cognitive challenges.

KidStart depends entirely on donations, fundraising, and gaming funds to operate. KidStart Champions choose from three levels of monthly sponsorship: Gold is $100 per month, Silver is $50 per month, and Bronze is $25 per month. KidStart Champions can be individuals or groups. KidStart also welcomes one-time or annual donations, as well as discounts or coupons for recreational activities and local eateries.

To find out more, contact Jesse Herbach, Campbell River KidStart Coordinator at 250-203-3111 or jesse.herbach@jhsni.bc.ca or visit http://www.jhsni.bc.ca/index.php/kidstart/.

RELATED: Kidstart celebrates 15 years of matching youths with volunteer mentors

Help John Howard KidStart on Giving Tuesday

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