Ice cream is often a favourite part of summer KidStart outings. Photo by Bluetree Photography.

Ice cream is often a favourite part of summer KidStart outings. Photo by Bluetree Photography.

Comox Valley KidStart seeking volunteer mentors

31 children currently in need of an adult mentor

Can you share a joke? Skip rocks? Eat ice cream?

Then you could help support a child in the Comox Valley. The John Howard Society of North Island is looking for volunteer mentors for KidStart. KidStart is a preventative mentoring program that connects children and youth ages 6-12 with carefully screened and trained adult volunteer mentors. Through role modelling 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 matches continue into the teen years.

“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 Tammie Manson, Comox Valley KidStart co-ordinator.

Each child in KidStart has experiences that indicate their need for support. The loss of a family member, challenges at school, or stresses at home are all reasons that a child will be identified as needing a supportive adult friend. Children in KidStart and their families greatly appreciate this very popular program. Currently, there are 31 kids waiting for mentors in Courtenay, Cumberland, and Comox.

Becoming a volunteer with KidStart is one way you can help the program. Mentees and their mentors decide what activities to do together during their weekly three-hour visit. Mentors encourage their mentees to develop their own interests, support learning and skill building, and open doors for them to participate in community life.

KidStart depends entirely on donations, fundraising, and gaming funds to operate. Do you believe in the power of mentoring but lack the time? Another way you can help is by donating to the program. KidStart Champions are monthly or annual donors who support local children to participate in KidStart. You can choose from three levels of monthly sponsorship: Gold = $100/month ($1,200/year), Silver = $50/month ($600/year), and Bronze = $25/month ($300/year). KidStart Champions can be individuals or groups. KidStart welcomes one-time or monthly donations as well as discounts or coupons for recreational activities and local eateries.

To find out more, contact Tammie Manson, Comox Valley KidStart Coordinator at 250-898-4842 or tammie.manson@jhsni.bc.ca or visit http://www.jhsni.bc.ca/index.php/kidstart/