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Renowned Munster Rugby player Robin Copeland signed up to the Foróige Big Brother Big Sister Programme earlier this year and is calling for others to follow in his footsteps and support a young person in need. The Foróige programme is part of an international initiative that supports young people from the age of 10 to 18 by matching them up with a “big brother” or “big sister” to offer them mentoring, guidance and friendship.

 

Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland and has been working with young people since 1952. The not-for-profit organisation enables young people to involve themselves consciously and actively in their own development and in the development of society.

 

Earlier this year Foróige launched the #BigBrotherBigSister campaign in a bid to encourage more volunteers to become “big brothers” or “big sisters” and spend some quality time with a young person who would benefit from having a mentor in their lives.

 

Munster back row, Robin, joined the programme in early 2015 after seeing a programme on RTE about Foróige and the work they do. Speaking about what captured his attention Robin said “The first I heard about Foróige was when I saw a piece on RTE about the Big Brother Big Sister campaign and I thought it was a really good idea. It’s a great way of helping young people and providing them with different opportunities to grow and develop. It was something that I felt could really make a difference in someone’s life and I knew it was something I wanted to get involved with. The volunteers are only asked to give one hour of their time each week, which is very little and it could have a very positive impact on a young person’s life. I’m really enjoying the programme and my “little brother” is great, we get on so well, and I’m getting as much out of it as he is.”

 

Robin was matched with his little brother Derek Cooper, aged 15, in May 2015 and since they were first introduced over 6 months ago they have built a great relationship and enjoy doing outdoor activities, as well as chilling out playing pool or arcade games together.

 

Speaking about his match Derek Cooper who is from Limerick said “Robin is a great Big Brother, we get on really well and are interested in the same things. I look forward to meeting up with him every week as we always have great fun. He hasn’t taught me how to play rugby yet but I’m hoping he will”.

 

Foróige is currently looking for volunteers nationwide to become big brothers or big sisters to spend quality time with a young person who would benefit from having a mentor in their lives.

 

Speaking about the programme and Robin Copeland volunteering, John Cahill, Foróige Manager, Big Brother Big Sister Programme said “We are really happy to have someone like Robin as part of the #BigBrotherBigSister programme as it helps shine a light on the great work the volunteers do and the impact it has on a young person’s life. We have watched Robin and Derek’s relationship over the last few months and it’s great to see their bond getting stronger as they go along, and Robin’s positive influence on Derek. It’s amazing to think that by simply giving up one hour of your week you can really help change a young person’s life for the better. The number of young people that come to us every year is growing hugely so we hope more volunteers sign up as a big brother or big sister and help change a person’s life”.

 

All volunteers go through a vetting process and are trained before being matched up with a suitable little brother or sister. The volunteer will be facilitated to establish a supportive relationship with the young person to assist them in their development.

For further information or to register as a volunteer see www.foroige.ie.

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