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Big Brother Big Sister Program for Ballarat Children

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By Louise Jones A GROUP of BIG volunteers put on a wonderful party for 13 Ballarat children on Saturday, as they celebrated the re-launch of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program into the region. Over the past 12 months the program was closed down and re-opened only to have doubts cast over future funding again in recent months.

However, a state government grant through Engage! Has ensured the program will continue in the foreseeable future.

The program oversees the assessment and matching of Bigs and Littles to form a friendship over a 12 month period.

Bigs consist of local volunteers over the age of 18 from all walks of life, and Littles are children between 7 to 17 who are referred to the program for all manner of reasons.

Littles may be in need of respite from difficult family situations or may be in need of a good friend to feel safe and comfortable with. The aim of the program is to help the children develop friendship skills, and improve relationships with their families and their community, but is really just a lot of fun. On Saturday a relaunch party was held for the children, co-ordinated by the YMCA who ran an afternoon of fun and games, followed up with a feast of party food.

Children from 7 to 17 attended the day and said they had a great time and looked forward to doing it again in the future. The official relaunch of the program will take place on Friday 8th May at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute with a Fundraiser Comedy Night for 15 years and over. Tickets are $35 available online from Ticketmaster. The relaunch also opens invitations to community members who would like to become a Big Brother or Big Sister.

A commitment of at least 3 visits per month over a 12 month period is all that is required, and visits need only be simple, low or no cost activities that allow Bigs and Littles to enjoy time together being themselves. For further information email support@ bbbsau.org