LEWISTON – The Child Health Center’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Program has been matching children with volunteers in Oxford, Androscoggin, northern Cumberland and southern Franklin counties since 1991.

During January the Child Health Center will join Maine Mentoring Partnership and the American Association of Big Brothers Big Sisters to recognize the mentoring matches in the area as part of National Mentoring Month.

The Child Health Center’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Program offers a variety of mentoring partnerships, which help young people succeed in life. The quality mentoring relationships help give young people the confidence, resources and skills they need to reach their potential.

The programs are structured and help form a trusting relationship that brings young people together with a caring teen or adult who can offer guidance, support and encouragement. Through the relationship the confidence and character of a mentee can develop to help them reach their full potential.

The programs offered under the Child Health Center include site-based mentoring, traditional community mentoring, mentoring students in transition, mentoring children of prisoners, Teen Impact!!, a teen program without walls, and an after-school program for middle school children.

The site-based program offers an older teen or adult the opportunity to spend one hour a week with a child at a local elementary or middle school. The teens and young adults who volunteer are high school and college students who work with children on school assignments, play board games or just talk and listen. The adults who volunteer in the program hale from a variety of organizations, including local churches and police departments.

In the more traditional community-based program, adults from the area share community-wide experiences with their Little Brother or Sister. In winter they may go skiing, sliding or ice fishing, while others may stay indoors enjoying movies or football games.

The mentoring students in transition and mentoring children of prisoners are new programs that started in the fall of 2004.

Anyone who would like to learn more can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at 743-7035 in Oxford and Franklin counties or 782-5437 in Androscoggin and northern Cumberland counties and ask for Pam Murphy, Child Health Center’s director of youth development program.

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