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Search under way for mentors to help youth

On the hunt: managing director of BBBS, Patrina Paynter (File photograph).

A youth outreach group aims to find a mentor for every vulnerable child in its organisation before the start of the summer.Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bermuda unveiled the “Go Beyond” media campaign yesterday with the goal of inspiring more adults to play a part in a troubled child’s life.Patrina Paynter, the managing director of BBBS, said that the group hoped to pair all 120 youths in their programme with a mentor by April — meaning at least 50 more mentors are needed.She added: “We noticed that people have numerous misconceptions about our programme and there were many people who felt that they had nothing to offer a young person.“I heard ‘I’m too old,’ or ‘I don’t have enough time’, but when we looked at each of these individuals we saw something more.“Why don’t you share your story? Why don’t you show your talent or share your skill set with our youth?”Ms Paynter spoke during a press conference to launch the media campaign at the Chubb Building in Hamilton.She said that the media campaign will involve several advertisements to run over radio and television channels, news sites and social media.Lamumba Tucker, a Big Brother with the programme, said that he understood from personal experience the impact that a mentor could play in a child’s life.He added: “A lot of times we end up looking at the end result — we say there’s a lot of gun violence, crime, theft and murder.“But we never look at how we can curtail that and the best thing to do is to get them while they’re young.”Nyoaki Williams, 15, added that her time in the programme helped forge a powerful bond between her and her Big Sister.She said: “I’ve had her for eight years and we’ve gone on a lot of adventures and done things that I probably wouldn’t have done on a daily basis.“She’s encouraged me to do a lot and I know she’s in my corner.”Ms Paynter added that everyone in Bermuda could offer a skill, relationship or attention to a child in need.She explained: “It’s the simple things that mean so much to children.“It’s not that mobile phone or iPhone that you purchase them, it’s those memories and those moments that mean so much to them.”She added: “We often see people complaining on social media and among the community about our young people.“Instead of complaining, I am imploring you right now to ask ‘what can I do? What do I have to offer?’ Because it doesn’t matter how big or how small — everybody has something to offer.”