Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson-Tasman is excited to launch its school-based teen programme at Tapawera Area School this year. The programme pairs senior students with primary school students during the study period or lunch break of the senior student.
Running for ten years, the programme has mentors from Nelson College for Girls, Nayland College, Waimea College and Motueka High School being matched with students from their local primary and intermediate schools.
Big Brothers Big Sisters programme director, Chelsea Routhan, is thrilled to be commencing at Tapawera Area School and principal Kelvin Woodley is very supportive of the partnership in his community that can feel isolated due to their distance from Nelson-based support services.
“We have wanted to further expand into the Tasman region for a number of years now. The programme commenced between Motueka High School and Parklands Primary School in 2017, and we saw expansion into Tapawera as another priority. This programme is a model of partnership to strengthen our schools, neighbourhoods and the community,” says Chelsea.
Senior students will have an opportunity to volunteer as a mentor and meet with their ‘littles’ from the junior school to chat, play games and develop a friendship. The school-based teen programme maintains the fundamentals of quality mentoring for which Big Brothers Big Sisters is known: one-to-one relationships, professional relationship support, and a focus on safety for the benefit of the mentee and mentor. “They just need somebody to show up, they need to know that somebody cares and is going to be a consistent, positive influence in their lives,” says Chelsea.
Big Brothers Big Sisters has a waiting list of nearly 40 children who need community-based adult mentors, with over 30 of those being boys. Anyone who is interested in becoming a mentor can go to www.bigbrothersbigsistersnelson.org.nz or contact the Big Brothers Big Sisters office on 03 545 9864.

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