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“A mentor is friendly, kind, helpful and someone who you can share opinions with and ask questions,” says a 12-year-old Nelson boy who has a Big Brother mentor.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Zealand (BBBS) is a grassroots community initiative supporting young people and their families. Young people with various needs are referred to BBBS by their parents.
“It’s for any young person who needs and wants a mentor,” says Dave Marshall, National Director. “The mentors are ordinary people, from doctors to farmers to labourers, and they spend an hour a week doing things together like gardening, biking or kayaking.”
The international mentoring programme was set up in New Zealand in Dannevirke in 1996, and has since spread to 13 locations around New Zealand. The national office is based in Nelson.
In the year to June 2010, 518 young New Zealanders were matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister. The average length of each mentoring relationship is 1 year 4 months, while many matches are in their fourth and fifth year of friendship.
BBBS Nelson received funding from The Tindall Foundation through United Way New Zealand, one of our regional Funding Managers. This funding enabled the training and support of the volunteer mentors.
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