Millions of children need a caring adult role model.
When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today's youth face a variety of challenges, and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential.
What's New from Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Offers Big Deal: You Read, We Go to the Zoo
Big Brother Geoffrey and Little Brother Michael have enjoyed plenty of adventures over the past three years, but when Michael started struggling with reading comprehension, Geoffrey found offering future adventures could help inspire him.
A Big Finds Time to Nurture A Little’s Love for Sports
As a mother of four, a community volunteer, and an attorney, Elizabeth didn’t have a lot of free time. At a Lion’s Club event, she heard a Big Brothers Big Sisters representative speak about the need for volunteers. Hearing about how many children are on the waitlist to get mentors, she was inspired to find the free time to become a Big Sister. When Elizabeth’s first Little Sister graduated high school, their match closed after a successful five years. Elizabeth didn’t want her time as a Big Sister to end, so she signed up again and was matched with Little Sister Alie, who Elizabeth helped become a star in sports and in school.
Creating Change Pays Off in Trip to Super Bowl
In 2002, when David signed up to become a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta, there was a lot on his mind. Did he have the time? Would he be a good Big Brother? Could an out gay man be accepted as a mentor? Would his Little Brother or the child’s family be uncomfortable with having a mentor who was gay? All these questions swirled in his head. What was not on his mind then was attending the Super Bowl. Back in February, Big Brother David and Little Brother Wesley, who is now 25, were in the stands to watch Nick Foles and the Eagles take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. They won tickets because David submitted an essay to the #CreateChangeContest, and Russell Wilson, the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, chose David and Wesley’s story as one of the winners. So, they headed to Minnesota together to celebrate their match and take in the Super Bowl.
Alana’s father was raising her alone, when he signed Alana up to become a Little Sister. He thought she needed a positive female role model to help her navigate the rough waters of childhood . When they met Big Sister Sam, Alana and her father thought she was the perfect match, and through her passion and support for Alana, she proved it.
After a childhood where he felt like his mentoring relationships had strings attached, Big Brother Tom set out to show a child they didn’t have to do something exceptional for an adult to care for them. “I wanted to show a child like me that they are deserving of a positive relationship without the pressure of trying to prove oneself,” he says. Tom was matched with Little Brother Samir, and the two hit it off immediately. They both love dogs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and sports. Though Tom became a Big because he wanted to show a child they didn’t have do exceptional things for an adult to care for them, he realized that Little Samir was truly exceptional.
Shyae’s mom signed her up to be a Little because she noticed a negative change in Shyae’s attitude in school and at home. She felt her daughter needed someone to listen to her, give her guidance, and help boost her confidence. Luckily, around this time, a graduate student named Lauren had completed her student teaching and decided she could spend her extra time being a Big Sister. When the two were matched, Lauren and Shyae felt an instant connection. Shyae felt so comfortable around Lauren that she opted to call her “Sissy.” Through match activities, Lauren made an effort to give Shyae new experiences, help her overcome her fears, and explore her interests. Soon Shyae gained the confidence to become an artist, a stylist, an entrepreneur, and so much more.
Two years before Little Brother Zyshonne was born, his brother died. Though Zyshonne never met him, he still mourned and agonized over the loss once he was able to comprehend what happened. He still has eight siblings, but he lives with only two of them and his grandparents. His other six brothers and sisters were separated and placed in foster homes. The loss of his brother and the displacement of his family led Zyshonne to build a wall of shyness to keep people from getting close to him. He struggled with his grades and social skills, so when Zyshonne was 10, his grandfather turned to Big Brothers Big Sisters.
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.