The rest of New Zealand envies the Hawke’s Bay lifestyle and enormous potential our region has to offer. We’re renowned for our fertile soils, excellent climate, world-class Port, and the talented and entrepreneurial people who live here.
At the same time, we locals must concede that Hawke’s Bay is a community in crisis. Levels of family violence and drug and alcohol abuse are frightening. Meanwhile, thousands of young people are not in employment, education, or training, it’s no wonder employers struggle to find reliable and motivated staff.
Enter Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawke’s Bay, one of New Zealand’s most trusted youth mentoring programmes.
For over 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has changed lives and communities all over the world by matching young people with suitable adult role models who aim to build positive, enduring relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a long and strong history, because it is simple and it works.
Since it’s relaunch in Hawke’s Bay in 2017, over 100 lives have been impacted for the better.
David Wills has been matched with Lachy since July 2020, he was motivated to become a mentor because he knew a few men who had mentored and felt it was a meaningful way to give back.
“One of the key benefits I have gained from mentoring is the absolute joy of seeing real positive changes in Lachy’s behaviour, confidence, and communication,” says David.
“I remember our first outing, there was not a lot of talking, as I think Lachy was trying to suss me out. We rode our bikes along Marine Parade and ate very large ice creams! Ten months in and we have done all kinds of activities, from bike riding to swimming, riding the quad and there’s always ice cream involved, we laugh a lot!”
When asked about how it is to interact with his mentee’s family, David says “Families place an incredible level of trust in both Big Brothers Big Sisters and myself as a mentor, over time the relationship with Lachy’s family has become quite natural.”
David leads a busy life but when asked how he can fit in one more thing, he says there is nothing he would rather do.
“My time is an investment in the next generation, and the return is great,” says David, CEO of Ruahine Motors in Waipukurau. “I recommend mentoring because it is good for the soul, only takes a few hours a week and you can genuinely make a difference in a child’s life.”
Lachy says “David is the best mentor, he gives me good advice and does fun activities with me”. Tash, Lachy’s mum adds “Since Lachy has been matched with David he isn’t as angry with everyone, and he is a lot calmer. David gives Lachy a great selection of ‘boy’ type physical experiences, which Lachy loves. They have a close bond.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters Hawke’s Bay programme manager Kath Boyd is keen to see other business people step up and give BBBS a go.
With early intervention youth can be supported to stay engaged in education in order to maximise their potential, develop life skills, increase confidence, and become the person they want to be.
“Our goal is to see Hawke’s Bay youth inspired, employed, and contributing in a meaningful way. Buddying a child with a mentor can change that child’s life forever!
Alasdair MacLeod and his mentee Kaine have been matched since February 2015 and Alasdair concurs, “being a mentor has reinforced the importance of having supportive role models in a young person’s life. Not only have I been able to do a tonne of fun stuff over the years I have been able to see Kaine’s aspirations grow. I get way more out of the match then I put in, and it’s true that while we can’t change the world, we can change a small part of it by our actions.”
Kath says on average they get three enquiries a week, that’s over 150 boys and girls a year wanting a positive role model..
“Our waiting list continues to grow and we need mentors more so now than ever, the demand for male volunteers is especially high.
BBBS relies on donations, grants and a large volunteer workforce. Running the programme costs over $200,000 a year; this will rise to over $300,000 with plans to extend the programmes reach. To continue growing the privately-funded programme, we’re asking for support in two ways.
In order to provide this life-changing service and ensure it is professionally monitored, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hawke’s Bay must raise funds. Over 90% of the money raised each year goes directly to provide practical support and resources for our volunteers and young people.
If your business would like to discuss our Match Sponsorship programme, a new initiative launched in 2021 or become a mentor
Kath Boyd – on 0210663930 or email Kath@bbbs.nz
Patricia Small – 022 581 2965 or email Patricia@bbbs.nz