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
An Ode to Her “Sissy”
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.
With His Big’s Help, A Little Takes Down His Wall of Shyness
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.
A Little With a Cape Becomes Her Own Hero
Growing up without a father or mother for any length of time is one of the hardest things a child can experience. When Little Sister Rustie was 2, her mother decided she no longer wanted to raise her. When Rustie got older, her father was incarcerated. After a stint with caregivers, Rustie went to live with her grandparents. She struggled to make positive choices and had trouble fitting in with her peers at school. After her tough early childhood, it looked like Rustie would need a Big Sister who was nothing short of a superhero. But after a match activity where Big Sister Elena armed Rustie with a cape, she became her own superhero.
A Message from Pam Iorio, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: “We…
Police Chief Scott grew up with two quality mentors — his parents. His father taught Scott and his friends to fish and hunt, and his mom encouraged them to empathize with others. The lessons had lasting effects on Scott, but modeling mentorship may have been the biggest. As he went through college and started his career as a beat cop, he sought out mentors for himself and eventually decided to become one. He became a Big Brother to Little Brother Marcus and saw firsthand the impact that an officer could have by mentoring a youth. After being named police chief, he made mentoring a priority for his department and saw award-winning results.
After retiring as a school principal, Verna still felt compelled to make a difference in someone’s life, so she became a Big Sister. She was matched with Little Sister Sarah, who was 6. Like many kids, Sarah was struggling with bullies, attendance, reading, and making friends. Though Verna had worked with many kids before, she quickly realized that this relationship would be different and, ultimately, the most special.
Dre’Von grew up surrounded by girls, with an older sister and two younger sisters, so his mother decided to enroll him as a Little Brother. She felt Dre’Von could use a positive male model in the form of a Big Brother, and he was matched with Tyler. Over the next three years, they have visited wolves at the zoo, seen the brightest neon jerseys ever at an NFL game, and enjoyed a perfect fall evening at an MLB game. From the activities they do together to the dedication to the match, Tyler has proven to be exactly the guy Dre’Von needed in his life.
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.