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A KidStart mentee and mentor hanging out on a summer day.
General · 2nd August 2013
Leanne McIntee
KidStart is a volunteer-based mentoring program that connects caring adults with kids ages 6-18 for three hours of fun per week. It’s the only one-to-one mentoring program for kids in need in our area.

Each child in KidStart has experiences that indicate their need for support. The loss of a family member, challenges at school, or stresses at home are all reasons that a child will be identified as needing a supportive adult friend.

Here on Quadra, as well as in Campbell River and the Comox Valley, The John Howard Society of North Island’s KidStart program gives children and youth the opportunity to make better choices and have wider experiences. JHSNI has been providing KidStart to vulnerable kids for the past seven years.

KidStart is funded solely by donations, fundraising, and gaming funds. Each year the agency struggles to find enough funding to support the program. JHSNI would like to invite islanders to participate in its KidStart Champions fundraising initiative. KidStart Champions support local children to participate in KidStart.

Research shows that young people involved in mentoring programs like KidStart report better attendance and attitude toward school, less drug and alcohol use, improved social attitudes and relationships, more trusting relationships and better communication with parents, and an increased chance of going on to higher education.

Quadra Mentors and Mentees are currently having fun exploring the great recreational opportunities on the island. They’ve been hiking, visiting artist studios, building forts at the Spit, swimming, roasting hot dogs over campfires, and enjoying hanging out in the fantastic summer weather.

Becoming a KidStart Champion is simple—choose from three levels of monthly sponsorship (Gold = $100/month, Silver = $50, Bronze = $25). Gold covers the cost of a child’s participation in KidStart. Champions can be individuals or groups such as workplaces, families, or clubs who pool small monthly donations. Donations are tax deductible. KidStart also welcomes one-time donations.

Quadra Island currently has four KidStart Champions who are happy to know that their contributions are helping to change the lives of local kids.

Quadra resident Karen Lakberg is a KidStart Mentor and Champion. She believes strongly in the positive benefits of KidStart. “As a Mentor I can assure you from personal experience that this program works and works exceptionally well. Please support this program in every way possible as there are still many young people who need this valuable opportunity.”

To find out more about KidStart, contact Quadra and Campbell River KidStart Coordinator Leanne McIntee at 250-286-0611 or leannejhsni.bc.ca. Visit JHSNI on the web at www.jhsni.bc.ca/kidstartchampion.html