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Erin and Catelyn

Perth, ON - About two years ago, Erin Borthwick decided she wanted to do something to give back to her community. She decided that volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County and mentoring a child would be the perfect way to do that.

Erin chose to mentor through the In-School Mentoring program, which allows a child an hour per week out of the classroom to hang out with a mentor. Studies show that this one on one time provides a child with much needed friendship, impacts their academic success, and helps prevent bullying. Erin was matched with a young girl named Catelyn.

Even though they only have an hour together each week, Erin and Catelyn have made the most of this time. They play board games, they read, they play hoola-hoop in the gym and, on occasion, they just walk around and chat. Erin says Catelyn really enjoys playing on the computer and showing her how to play computer games.

Their friendship began about a year and a half ago and is still going strong. Catelyn describes Erin as funny and fun to play with. She says she really enjoys scrapbooking with her mentor and treasures the scrap books they make.

After nearly two years of being matched, Erin has noticed changes in Catelyn. While Catelyn was somewhat shy when they first started to spend time together, over time, her confidence level has increased. As an example, one day when they were playing in the gym, a microphone had been set up on the stage for the Remembrance Day ceremony. Glancing at Erin, Catelyn said “I’m going to overcome my biggest fear,” and commenced to sing one of her favourite songs into the microphone. Even when two men came into the gym to do some work, Catelyn continued to sing. Erin was very proud of what Catelyn did .

This match has produced many smiles and happy thoughts for Catelyn and Erin. Both really look forward to their weekly meetings and say they have learned from each other and made some amazing memories. Most importantly, they have had lots of fun in their ongoing friendship.

Erin encourages everyone to consider mentoring as she feels it is one of the best ways to give back to your community. By fostering that in young people, she hopes they too will want to get involved in their community.

For more information about In School Mentoring, or other mentoring programs offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lanark County, please call 613-283-0570 or visit their website at www.bigbrothersbigsisterslanark.ca

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