Mentors building bonds at Pegler
Pink shirt: Big Brothers, Big Sisters program helping elementary school students
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 06:00 am
Facts about mentoring and bullying from the Big Brothers Big Sisters Calgary area.
• Girls with a Big Sister are four times less likely to bully, fight, and lie than girls without a mentor
• Mentored boys are two times more likely to believe that school is fun and that doing well academically is important
• Mentored boys are two times less likely than non-mentored boys to develop negative conducts like bullying, fighting, lying, and cheating
It’s good to have someone to look up to and share good times together.
Some students at Percy Pegler Elementary School have been paired up with mentors from the Global Sports Academy hockey program at Okotoks Junior High as part of a mentoring program.
“I really do think the program helps a lot,” said Jaelyn Webber, a Pegler student. “It helps yourself calm down, and helps yourself get back up if something bad happens.”
The hockey players come across the field from Okotoks Junior High School for an hour every Wednesday to participate in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Calgary and Area mentoring program.
Pegler principal Dinah VanDonzel selects the mentees. They are chosen for a variety of reasons - a student needing a special connection or maybe he or she is a new student.
The mentors are doing stuff with the Pegler students which may be more important than reading, writing and ‘rithmetic. They are just hanging with the younger student.
“We do board games, we talk and sometimes we do an activity where we had a smartboard working and played a game called ‘Kahoots’ – it does math and fun things — one time I saw potato in there,” said Graham McCowan, pointing to a t-shirt with a potato on it.
It draws a laugh — it’s not just a gathering of young students, they are all pals.
Webber said being with her mentor Colby helps her get a break from the rigours of figuring numbers.
“Every single time my mentor comes we are doing really hard stuff in math,” Webber said. “I get to take a break from that and we talk and do fun stuff.”
Mentee Adrian Crawford agreed.
“The mentors are really nice and they can help you when things are hard,” he said.
Even if hard is just something like shooting baskets, as was his case one time. He said it was comforting to know he had a mentor.
Webber said her mentor helped with a one-time bullying issue by talking with her and just being there.
“Colby has been my mentor now for two years now,” she said. “She’s really nice and treats me with respect.”
Kindness and respect are high up there on the mentors’ priority lists.
“I get the chance to teach them some life experiences they can use along the way like being kind, sharing, honesty…” said Grade 8 student Ava Harper. “I get the satisfaction that I am doing something good for other people.”
The ears are just as important as the tongue for the mentor.
“I always make sure that they know I am listening and if they want to talk about something they know I am there,” mentor Ashlee Glubish said. “Just help them with situations.”
Mentor William Ellis agreed. He said he has to listen to a mentee’s problems. He added the results are positive – especially for him.
“I feel more empathetic,” he said. “I enjoy it – it’s an hour to hang out with kids and have some fun.”
For now Crawford is a mentee, but he would love to be the mentor when he gets to junior high.
“My mentor is helping me and I want to help other kids now, like self-confidence,” Crawford said. “So that when they go out in the real world, they aren’t afraid of everything — they are nice.”
Meanwhile, the Grade 9 Ellis will be the new kid on the block at the Comp next year. He said the skills he has learned as a mentor will help him.
“I will treat people how I want to be treated,” Ellis said.
Hey, maybe he could get some help at the Comp.
“That would be nice to have a mentor,” he said with a smile.