April 19th, 2024

Pronghorns join with Big Brothers Big Sisters through mentorship program


By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on January 27, 2022.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman University of Lethbridge athletics manager Spencer Pommells, at left, Pronghorns track athlete David Awosoga and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge District Jen Visser and Mikaela Reay helped announce the mentorship partnership Wednesday at the University of Lethbridge.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The University of Lethbridge’s Pronghorn Athletic Department has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge and District to expand their reach in the community.
The partnership will begin in February 2022 and will provide student athletes an opportunity to be mentors for children in the community that benefit from the programs offered at Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“What they’re going to be doing is mentoring children in our community and surrounding area, with a time frame of two to five hours a week, depending on which program they start,” said Jen Visser, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge and District Executive Director.
Visser said this is something that is not just a one-time, one year commitment, but a long term relationship which is going to have extreme impact on children in the community.
To date 70 Pronghorn student-athletes have gone through the intake process which accounts for nearly half of the total Pronghorn student-athletes competing for the University of Lethbridge this year.
“This is the biggest intake that we’ve seen in our history… and what that means is it’s going to help serve over 250 children in our community and surrounding area,” said Visser.
Intake caseworker for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Mikaela Reay, said this partnership provides them with the opportunity to continue to grow into being able to service as many kids as possible.
“It allows us to really expand into schools that we’ve never been into before, run multiple programs and just broaden our reach for kids in the community who really need it,” said Reay.
University of Lethbridge athletics manager, Spencer Pommells, said that from the moment the idea of partnering up with Big Brothers Big Sisters was brought up to the student athlete council, they were all over it.
“As we move forward with this partnership year over year, the athletes who entered in their first year can just continue. So it’ll likely be able to increase our percentage of athletes that are in it as we move forward, but 70 for our first kickoff is really exciting,” said Pommells.
Pommells said that enrolment is fairly equal across all sports within their student council.
“There’s a little bit of a disparity just because of the size of some of our rosters. Our basketball teams for example, we have 15 or so, while track and field has just over 30, but from a percentage points basically equal across the board,” said Pommells.
Middle distance runner on the pronghorn track and field team, David Awosoga, has been with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 2015 and has seen first-hand the impact that it has on both the mentee and the mentor. He said this is something he wanted to share with the rest of his fellow athletes.
“This partnership is something that I’m very excited about. To see all the other athletes have the ability to experience the same joys of relationship that I’ve had,” said Awosoga.
He said that during practices, some of his teammates have come up to him to let him know they will be meeting their match, or they just went through the interview process.
“For those who have gone forward with it, I’m really happy that (it has) paid a lot of dividends for them,” said Awosoga.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge and District has been serving the community since 1973 and currently offer a variety of mentoring programs that fit different volunteer schedules and commitments.

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