COVID-19 IMPACT: SARAH AND ANGEL’S STORY

Last week, one of our Match Support Specialists fielded a call from Big Sister Sarah. Her Little Sister Angel has been “super hungry” and has been regularly asking Sarah to send food.

Sarah knows that Bigs are not encouraged to spend money on their Littles- that’s not what signing up to be a mentor is about. But these are not normal times, and Sarah wondered what to do.

Sarah wanted to help her Little Sister Angel but she didn’t know how to do that while maintaining the boundaries that are so important in a mentoring relationship. Sarah wanted to pick up the phone and order food for Angel but she turned to Big Brothers Big Sisters instead.

Our Match Support Specialist was able to coach Sarah on how best to respond to her Little Sister. She also pointed Sarah to free community resources so she could provide food for Angel. Sarah was able to pick up food for her Little Sister from the Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) program last week.

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff also found more food through KPS that Sarah’s Little qualified for and helped arrange its delivery.

The support of our community connected Angel with sorely needed food. It also ensures that the next call our Match Support Specialists take with the same needs is answered.

CHANGES IN  BBBS’ WORK

Our team has made a successful transition to remote work this month and even though our physical offices are closed we are continuing to meet the needs of the children and families we serve in Kalamazoo, Allegan, Calhoun, and Van Buren counties.

Our recruitment and enrollment teams are meeting virtually with adults interested in becoming a mentor and they will continue to interview volunteers and even lead volunteer training orientations online.

Perhaps most importantly, our direct program services teams and our Match Support Specialists continue to serve as a hub for hundreds of families like Angel’s—providing resources for those who are affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19

Now, perhaps more than ever, the mission and the impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters are evident and urgent. As we navigate the current challenges, we are already looking ahead to challenges we may not have anticipated. Experience and evidence-based research tells us our programs will be even more critical once the pandemic passes. Please consider supporting our work now with a donation.

WHAT YOU MIGHT NOTICE

  • If you’re a mentor, we’ll continue to provide resources for your Little and their family, as well as information to help you stay connected during this time when you’re not able to meet in person.
  • If you’re in the process of becoming a mentor—though we’ve put a temporary halt on Match meetings, we’ll continue providing orientations, processing applications, and conducting background checks.
  • If you’re interested in becoming a mentor please click here to complete an application or send an email to our team.
  • If you’re a donor look for more stories about the impact your generous gifts provide to the families we serve.

Finally, I want to say thank you. Thank you for believing in us. Thank you for believing in the kids we serve. And thank you for standing with us to ignite the power and promise of youth in our communities. We are #BiggerTogether.

With gratitude,

Amy
CEO

P.S. Our leadership team continues to meet daily to evaluate the COVID-19 crisis and ensure we deliver high quality services to those who need us most. We will post updates here on our blog and we’ll also continue to keep you up to date on our social media channels—Facebook, Instagram,  and LinkedIn.

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