Written by Sally Nistor
Cavell Leitch helps out many charities in our community through its association with United Way and through our newsletter we would like to put a spotlight charities who have been helped by United Way.
This month's spotlight is on Big Brothers Big Sisters Christchurch.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Christchurch (BBBS) is a charity which recognises that not all children in the world get the same opportunities in life, mainly because of the homes they are born into. Without assigning any blame for that, BBBS is all about bringing some balance to the lives of these kids by providing them with an adult friend/mentor with whom they can have some fun and who is around to give them some support and encouragement in life.
In this way it enables children to see possibilities that maybe they had not seen before, and at the same time gives them some great childhood memories with someone to count on and to look up to for help and advice. For many young people, simply having a mentor turn up week after week is so important, as this provides a stable relationship which will help connect them to other people and to the community around them.
The children are aged from 6 through to 18 and so far 135 kids have been mentored. The minimum commitment required is for 1 year, but a lot of relationships last much longer, for example BBBS Christchurch Manager, Matt Button, has had a relationship with his youngster for 6 years now and says they are now “Whanau” which has come very naturally to him.
BBBS uses their funding for staff to recruit adult friends/mentors and find the kids who need help the most and bring them together. They are also there to support the relationship. Matt says that whilst they have plenty of kids on their waiting list they are always looking for adult friends/mentors and have a particular shortage of male volunteers. They only ask that you spare them 1 hour a week for a minimum of a year. Not much to help a child reach their true potential is it?
There are many wonderful individual success stories on the BBBS website which is well worth a look. So to see these stories and, if you are interested, get more of an idea about mentoring (or even just donating), please click here.
Some more information about United Way:
United Way have been improving lives and strengthening communities around the world for more than 125 years and enjoys the support of 70,000 companies. Cavell Leitch is one of those companies in New Zealand and has enjoyed a partnership with United Way for approximately 14 years. Our staff not only donate through payroll, but also donate time. Some of our partners assist in choosing the charities to support and one of our staff member is the Canterbury Regional Co-ordinator. We are committed to helping United Way create lasting change in our community.
United Way envisions a world where all individuals and families achieve their human potential through education, income stability and healthy lives. The Charity’s mission is to improve lives by mobilising the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.
For those that aren’t aware of United Way’s work, they collect donations and then give grants to charities who apply. Some of these charities are too small to attract much attention for donations or are not “popular” charities, but still do fantastic work in our communities.
For more information on United Way please click here.