Local kids looking for mentors

Published on Thu, Jul 12, 2001 by Meg Olson

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Local kids looking for mentors

By Meg Olson

Eight Blaine kids need a special adult to help them grow-up.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Whatcom County, a division of United Way, is looking for local volunteers to spend a few hours a week with a local child. Whether it’s going swimming, learning a new skill together, or just chatting, Big Brothers and Big Sisters give young people special attention and act as positive adult role models. The program serves 300 Whatcom County children.

The agency has a harder time finding volunteers outside of Bellingham, where 90 percent of the current program volunteers live. Children in the county often have to wait three times longer than Bellingham kids to be matched with a mentor. “Whenever possible we try to match children with volunteers in their own community,” said Carrie Bishop Cruz, program coordinator. “Volunteers are more familiar with recreational resources in their own neighborhoods, and living close by a child makes getting together more convenient.”

Volunteers and kids are matched through shared interests and hobbies. The program provides initial training for volunteers and ongoing support and organizes group activities to encourage program participants to network.
Prospective volunteers can call 671-6400 for more information. Training sessions are held throughout the summer.

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