10 August 2019
From left Jill Campbell (RLC), Darryl Parker (Big Brothers Big Sisters), Tori Williams (RLC), Pete Kearney(RLC), Bob Cameron (RLC), Eden Chapman (Sunset Primary School) Jessica Wilkes (RLC) and Richard Dahlenburg (RLC).
Staff at Rotorua Lakes Council will soon be getting to know their new little brothers and sisters as part of a partnership with mentoring organisation Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Rotorua Lakes Council has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters Rotorua to mentor children at Sunset Primary School as part of the Child Equity Programme.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) provides volunteer mentors to children for a variety of reasons. BBBS continually has a waiting list of children in need of an appropriate mentor.
Rotorua Lakes Council is hoping to lead by example within the local business community in helping to support these tamariki by providing staff and time.
BBBS has been providing mentoring services for Rotorua tamariki for more than four years. Currently BBBS is running two programs locally – a school-based programme and a community-based programme.
Rotorua Lakes Council staff will be taking part in the school-based programme, which involves tuakana (big brothers or sisters) meeting with their teina (little brothers or sisters) once a week during school time on school grounds.
They do play based learning activities they both enjoy like board games, cooking in the school kitchen, playing sport or doing woodwork projects. The school-based programme tuakana have no interaction with the whānau. All communications with the whānau are managed by the BBBS co-ordinator.
Rotorua Lakes Council staff will be mentoring students at Rotorua’s Sunset Primary School during terms 3 and 4 of 2019.
Following an application process, five Rotorua Lakes Council staff members have joined the programme and will be mentoring children in Years 4 and 5.
Sunset Primary School principal Eden Chapman says the Big Brothers Big Sisters programme is invaluable.
“It provides these kids with a different perspective on life and they get to talk to someone who has had a different set of experiences.”
He says the programme is enriching for both the children and the mentors.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Rotorua co-ordinator Darryl Parker says the project is about collaboration.
“The police came on board 18 months ago and now council has come on board. They are showing leadership in the community and are leading by example.”
Rotorua Lakes Council events and engagement co-ordinator Tori Williams has already been partnered with her little sister.
“She’s awesome. She’s 7 and is into baking and crafts and that’s all stuff that I am looking forward to doing with her.”
Tori says she volunteered to take part because she wanted to be a positive change for someone.
“My little sister has lots of siblings so she might not get too much one on one time with people, so it’s nice to be able to provide her with that.”
For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.org.nz/rotorua.html.