KEEPING KIDS CONNECTED
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan is working remotely to help support our Littles and their families. Our team serves as a hub for hundreds of families—providing resources for those who may be affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19. We're also working closely with our Bigs and our community to ensure we continue to ignite the potential of local youth by keeping kids connected to the important additional caring role models in their lives.
YOU CAN IGNITE THE POWER AND POTENTIAL OF LOCAL CHILDREN
We can't begin to fully understand how COVID-19 will impact the youngest in our community. Even with current social distancing guidelines our staff are encouraging matches to meet digitally, providing ideas and support for doing so, and connecting with families and connecting families to resources to make sure their needs are met.
For over 60 years, BBBS has been providing this high quality and important service to Southwest Michigan families. It continues to be critical during these uncertain times and will continue after the pandemic passes. Experience and evidence-based research tells us our programs will be even more critical once the pandemic passes.
How does Big Brothers Big Sisters help Kasaius?
When Big Brothers Big Sisters works to match a Little with a Big, we take into account the needs, personality, interests, and goals of both the child and the adult volunteer. We introduce the Little and his or her family to the Big slowly and make sure everyone is fully committed to the match before it is made official. Little Brother Kasaius is outgoing and up for anything, so he needed a Big who was creative and had a variety of interests.
Children like Kasaius get the most out of their one-to-one relationship with their Big when the Big, the parent or guardian, and the child talk openly with their Match Support Specialist. Working as part of the team helping the child succeed, the Match Support Specialist can help identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and connect the family with essential services.
When Kasaius’ Big Brother saw the email from BBBS saying that there were spots open in a free acting class, he jumped at the chance to take Kasaius. BBBS affiliates across the country provide activities for Bigs and Littles and also alert Bigs to opportunities in the community. This enables Bigs to get to know other Bigs, who might be experiencing similar things and who might have great suggestions for more new activities.
Screening and Training
Child safety is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority. To achieve the highest standards possible, we work constantly to review and strengthen our background check systems as new best practices in the industry emerge. We also make sure our Bigs and our staff have the training and resources they need to help Littles on their path to success.
Celebrating Pride: Denise Miller
Denise Miller says they would tell their younger self to, “Trust your heart, your self, your intuition, and your relationship with God.” Miller reflects that spending so much of their life fighting with their self-narrative only harmed them, no one else.
Celebrating Pride: Donta Andrews
Donta Andrews shares, “Women issues, race issues, LGBTQ issues are human issues. If you don’t care about them, you should be examining that.”
Celebrating Pride: Maggie Adams
Maggie Adams hopes that one day there is “no such thing as ‘coming out’ … that ‘normal’ is young kids feeling valid and accepted …”
Little Brother Huxley and Big Brother John were just paired. These two love technology and being active.
Janelle “Nelly” Smith encourages LGBTQ+ youth to: “Live for you. Most people that are scared to come out … end up eating at themselves their whole life.”
Little Brother Colin and Big Brother Scott are celebrated for their love of the outdoors and connection with each other!
Tiffany Blackman of Battle Creek, is a pillar in Southwest Michigan. She wears many hats, and aims to build community all around her.