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.
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.
From Homework Help to Home Science Experiments
When Big Sister Gretchen first met Little Sister Brianna, she met a shy, smart, curious girl who often got into trouble. Brianna got upset quickly, threw fits, and fought with other kids. Spending time at school and eventually outside of school with Big Sister Gretchen was a big help, and Brianna began to gain confidence and focus.
Learning to Take Pride in Who You Are
When Little Brother Brandon was struggling with his identity and realizing he was gay, he wanted to tell his Big Brother Emilio. He was scared at first, but he says Emilio simply accepted him. “From my perspective, that’s my job as a Big Brother, just to listen and be supportive,” Emilio says.
A Big Becomes a Third “Gilmore Girl”
Little Sister Mykayla’s mom wanted to have a relationship with her daughter like Rory and Lorelai from “Gilmore Girls.” The mom and daughter were already so close in age that they were best friends, but throughout Mykayla’s childhood, her mother was sick. She was diagnosed with cancer when Mykayla was just a toddler, and she dealt with other severe illnesses and injuries. Mykayla’s mom enrolled Mykayla as a Little Sister when she was 10 years old. She wanted her daughter to have someone to talk to besides her, someone to be a role model. What she got was all that and more in Big Sister Shannon.
After more than 10 years in a refugee camp, Little Brother Ashis’ parents got to the United States and immediately wanted to give their son opportunities and a bright future. They enrolled Ashis as a Little through BBBS of Utah, and he was soon matched with Big Brother Paul. The match was exactly what they were looking for. “Paul’s influence has made Ashis want to achieve more,” Ashis’ parents say. “Ashis now has goals, in school and in basketball.”
When Little Sister Esmeralda learned she was failing the third grade, she turned to her Big Sister for help. When they first started reading together, she could barely read the menu. When she pulled the fortune from a fortune cookie and began to read it aloud to Chelsea, she stopped in the middle because she got to a word she didn’t know, too embarrassed to keep trying. Together, they began working on Esmeralda’s reading and building her confidence. After a year of reading books each time they met, Esmeralda passed third grade.
At their first match meeting, Big Brother Harrison and Little Brother Michael’s match support specialist and Michael’s mom left them alone to get to know one another. “We played basketball and talked for what must have been two hours,” Harrison says. “It got to the point that [Michael’s mom] said she would go home and I could drop him off when we got done, since we were having so much fun.” The fun and connection haven’t stopped for almost four years.