Go Girls and Game On Memorandum of Understanding
Memorandum of Understanding
It is agreed that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Waterloo Region (BBBSWR) and the School will be partners in the Go Girls!, Game On! and or Group Mentoring 2.0 program(s) as developed by BBBSWR. This agreement shall begin on the dates signed below and continue until such time that either partner gives two (2) months written notice of their desire to withdraw from the partnership. This agreement outlines the respective responsibilities of the School and BBBSWR for this program. The Memorandum of Understanding will be reviewed at the time of re-introduction of Go Girls!, Game On! and/or Group Mentoring 2.0 into the School. Any changes will be indicated by a written amendment that is signed by both partners and attached to the original agreement.
Go Girls! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds
Go Girls! Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds is a seven-week program that has been developed for adolescent girls to provide them with the information and support they need to make informed choices about healthy, active living during a particularly challenging stage of development. Maintaining sensitivity towards emotional, social and cultural issues, Go Girls! addresses topics such as participation in physical activity, healthy eating choices, self-image and relationships.
Game On! Eat Smart, Play Smart, Live Smart
Developed for male adolescents, Game On! is a seven-week program that uses a mentor approach to provide boys and young men with information and support to make informed choices about a range of healthy lifestyle practices. Through non-traditional physical activities, complemented with healthy eating support, participants are engaged in life skills, communication, and emotional health discussions designed to engage participants in the pursuit of life-long healthy lifestyles.
Group Mentoring 2.0
New this school year, this program is a combination of our Go Girls and Game On programs, which discusses more specifically topics related to cyber/social media safety, mental health and strategies for coping with stress. The program is also not meant to be gender specific and therefore more inclusive for youth. This could be facilitated as a co-ed group and encourages all youth to participate, regardless of how they identify or the pronouns they use. Overall, the program strives to create appreciation for the benefits of an active, healthy lifestyle, improve mental health knowledge to reduce stigma and empower the student to seek help when needed, support the development of leadership and life skills, and allow participants to develop the means to effectively deal with societal and peer pressures.
Each session of Go Girls!, Game On! and/or Group Mentoring 2.0 is approximately 90 minutes long and occurs on school property during school hours. The seven sessions of the programs include a variety of discussions, activities and educational games that are facilitated by two adult Mentors who have been thoroughly screened by BBBSWR. The Mentors do not take on the role of counsellor, teacher, parent or authority figure. All Mentors are screened in accordance with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards.
All children who participate in BBBSWR programs must have participated in Pre-Match Training. This training has three primary purposes, to: prepare match participants for their role in a healthy, successful mentoring relationship; illuminate safety issues and strategies; and emphasize that resources and ongoing support will be available to all match participants. A BBBSWR Program Coordinator will deliver this training as required. In extenuating circumstances, the school may be asked to complete Pre-Match Training with a Student using the materials provided by BBBSWR prior to program start. In this instance, the school staff member facilitating the training will be asked to sign off noting that the training has occurred.
Responsibilities of the School and BBBSWR
Before program start, the School will:
- Appoint a School Liaison (SL) who will be responsible for coordinating the program within the School (where possible). They will be the primary contact person for: the Go Girls!, Game On! and/or Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator at BBBSWR, the Mentors when they are at the School, the Students participating in the program, and the parents and teachers of the Students;
- Be responsible for pre-screening the Students. This includes determining which children will be suitable for the program based on information provided by BBBSWR, and completing a referral form provided by BBBSWR. All forms must be completed in full and submitted to BBBSWR before a group can commence;
- For Students who have previously participated in Go Girls! or Game On!, the SL will re-assess the child at the start of the program to determine suitability for participation. This includes discussions with the Student as well as completing a new referral form;
- Instruct the SL to meet or speak with the child’s caregiver to explain the program and solicit their co-operation and support;
- Be the caregiver’s primary contact for the Go Girls!, Game On! and/or Group Mentoring 2.0 The Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator shall be brought in for consultation when necessary;
- Obtain signed caregiver consent/waiver for all participants and provide BBBSWR with a copy; and
- Designate a physical environment(s) on school property (where applicable) where Mentors and Students can meet during their scheduled match visits.
Before program start, BBBSWR will:
- Recruit, screen and train all Mentors in accordance with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards; and
- Provide all forms needed to implement the program including: Referral forms, parent/guardian Permission forms and general program information.
At program start, the School will:
- Ensure teachers or the SL complete a referral form for each Student (indicating the reason for referral) which is then attached to the signed parent consent form. The SL will then submit these to the Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator.
At program start, BBBSWR will:
- Ensure that the Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator facilitates the match meeting with the SL and the Mentors at a pre-arranged time, via social platform, phone, or in person to discuss the participating Students as well as the details of the program;
- Introduce the Mentors to the Students; and
- Be available to the Mentors and/or School should problems or questions arise.
During the program, the School Liaison will:
- Notify the Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator and Mentors in advance of any schedule changes (i.e. school trips, PA days);
- When possible, notify the Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator when a Mentor misses a session without notice;
- Openly discuss ongoing successes and concerns regarding the group with BBBSWR;
- Maintain communication with the School personnel regarding the successes and challenges of the Student participants;
- Ensure all group information on file adheres to all privacy legislation;
- Check-in with Mentors regarding any successes and concerns regarding the group (where possible);
- Check-in with Students regarding their experiences in the group and observe the participants’ reactions when returning from meeting with the group; and
- Support and reinforce the rules and limits of the program, as set out by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada National Standards. Specifically, the Student participants and Mentors cannot, under any circumstances, have any contact (including but not limited to in person, phone, email or social media) outside of their group visits (this includes after the completion of the program). Go Girls! and Game On! groups will not be invited to attend any BBBSWR sponsored events.
During the program, BBBSWR will:
- Have regular supervisory contact (at least 3 times) with each Mentor through in person meetings, phone, email and virtual platforms throughout the duration of the program;
- Attend a Go Girls!, Game On! or Group Mentoring 2.0 session in order to observe and monitor the group and Student participants (where possible);
- Provide all Mentors with ongoing access to the Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 Program Coordinator;
- Be available, upon request, to meet with caregivers (by telephone or virtually) to answer questions and provide information about the programs, however, the School will be the Student’s caregiver primary contact; and
- Keep a confidential file for each Mentor.
At program end, the School will:
- Participate in the evaluation of the program at the completion of the school year. This process and all forms will be provided by BBBSWR; and
- Ensure that the participating Students, the Student’s caregiver (if appropriate) and their teachers are notified of the program closure. This includes distributing the Match Termination Letters (Letters provided by BBBSWR and addressed to the Students and their caregiver) to the Students (or their parent/guardian) within two weeks of group closure (if requested by BBBSWR).
At program end, BBBSWR will:
- Conduct an evaluation of the program and provide the School with a summary of the results of that evaluation upon request;
- Deliver a Match Termination Letter to the Student’s caregiver within two weeks of group closure to confirm the closure of the group. Alternatively, BBBSWR will provide the SL with a Match Termination Letter (addressed to the Student and their caregiver) to be distributed to the Student (and/or caregiver) confirming the closure of the group. This letter will be provided to the SL within two weeks of group closure and will be signed by a BBBSWR Program Coordinator.
- Both BBBSWR and the School shall provide insurance for the Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 programs. Both BBBSWR and the School also agree to maintain valid and in-force, a policy or policies of liability insurance;
- Both BBBSWR and the School agree to inform each other in advance of any Go Girls!, Game On! and Group Mentoring 2.0 program communication related to the media;
- Both BBBSWR and the School will support volunteer recognition;
- Should the Student disclose any abusive experience to the Mentor, the School or BBBSWR (the recipient of notification) will deal with the disclosure according to their respective policies and will provide support to the Mentor. If deemed appropriate by Family and Children’s Services, parties may inform each other of the report; and
- Each party shall notify the other of any changes in match status including group rescheduling or closure.