Laurie Ianetti and the DSBN Connection

The work of our ISM program would not be possible without the dedicated youth counsellors we work with at the DSBN. One such counsellor, Laurie Ianetti, has been a long-time partner of ours, and has seen many at-risk children and youth benefit from the program.

“I have worked in alternative education sites, as well as secondary and elementary schools. It has been my job to work with school staff to identify the need for mentors within a school. “

Laurie agrees that the ISM program is one of the most effective early response programs in Niagara for creating a positive, healthy environment for mentored youth.

“I am so pleased and grateful for the work that Big Brothers Big Sisters does in schools to match students to appropriate mentors. They spend such a good deal of time training the mentors and matching students.  The mentoring program is one of the best programs that I have access to within the community to work with children. “

Mentored youth graduate at a higher rate, are absent less often in school, utilize social assistance at a lower rate, engage less in risky and delinquent behaviours than non-mentored youth, thereby becoming positive contributors to our communities.

“There are positive changes in a child’s behaviour as a result of their match.  Children who are matched look forward to their time with their mentors each week and are sad when their time is over.  Almost always a child asked to be re-matched the following year.”

And sometimes, they do get re-matched.

“I have seen many noteworthy positive changes in children as a result of their mentor match.  Most recently there is a boy in grade 6 who was matched last year and his mentor returned this year.  The time they spend together each week is the highlight of this boy’s week.  The positive changes we have noticed are no doubt a direct result of the time that Mr. Jim spends with him.”

Laurie thanks the talented Mentoring Coordinators at Big Brothers Big Sisters for making her job that much easier.

“Every person has someone in their life who has made a difference.  Positive one-on-one attention from a caring adult is key to all children feeling good about themselves and others.  In school mentoring works because Big Brothers Big Sisters takes the time to properly train and supervise the matches.  For my schools it is Madeline Van Hemert.  Without her it would not be as successful as it is.  Thank you, Maddy, for all the great work you do!”

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