BGCBigs Virtual Mentoring Program
Mentoring provides children and youth with a caring adult mentor who will become a mentor support – that is, an important person in their life who they can seek guidance from and rely on for support. In the context of this relationship, the young person will increase their protective factors. These are traits and skills that mitigate risk and enhance healthy development and well-being for youth and include resilience, social-emotional skills, executive function and social connections.
BGCBigs adapted to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and generated virtual programming and in March/April 2020, BGCBigs conducted wellness surveys with 2230 families to address the greatest needs for our youth and community due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of these surveys showcased a strong need for virtually programming and virtual tutoring. Over the summer of 2020, we launched virtual educational programming to our club communities and offered new virtual opportunities for our mentoring matches to meet. This quickly became a popular program for children to feel connected to their community during a time of physical isolation.
To combat the learning loss and isolation children have faced over the pandemic, our club will implement programing that will allow children to work as a team to come up with creative solutions for a variety of problems in science, engineering, and mathematics. Our programing will aim to support children and youth in the attainment of key academic skills and allowing them to learn and experiment in a respectful, inclusive, and engaging environment.
Who Will it Benefit?
During the past year, we have seen a dramatic increased need to virtual mentoring and tutoring, and believe that we will be working with a hybrid virtual and in-person mentoring and tutoring program in the long term. This means that setting up this program right now is important to ensure the success in future years. Virtually we can provide programming to communities we have never been able to reach in the past. BGCBigs holds partnerships with over 40 schools in Edmonton and surrounding area participating in our in school mentoring programs. We also leverage these relationships to draw in new students who may currently not participate in our club or mentoring programming. Virtual programming allows us to not be limited to our immediate communities and open the door for us to serve a greater number of kids in our community.
Through virtual tutoring, our children and youth receive academic mentoring related to literacy, math and others areas as needed. In school mentoring is a vital service for many children and youth as our kids and families are learning online today more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased pressures on our teachers to fill learning and social gaps, all while learning new policies, procedures and systems. Our partnerships with our schools and teachers will be key to our programming and ensuring that our kids don’t fall through the gaps when learning online or in person attending school. Tutoring and homework support provided by BGCBigs elevates the pressures on our teachers and provides students the best chance to improve their academic skills and become more confident in their abilities to achieve success in school.