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 Provides Support He Never Had
Growing up in Japan, Big Brother Toru felt lost. The pressure to succeed was overwhelming, and it wasn’t until he came to America that he felt that he had the support of mentors looking out for him. When he became a firefighter, and later a photojournalist, he found people who showed him the path forward. “In each job, I was blessed to have mentors who took me under their wing and guided me through the ups and downs of life and my career,” he says. Toru knew he wanted to make sure he helped someone who was feeling lost like he had, so he signed up to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters. He was matched with Little Brother Javi, who he helped find success not by applying pressure but by providing support.
From Quitting School to Buying a Cap and Gown
At the beginning of Boshanna’s senior year, her best friend and her brother were involved in an incident that resulted in their arrest. It hit Boshanna hard. Big Sister Karen remembers it being one of Boshanna’s lowest points. “Boshanna was devastated and depressed,” she says. “She stopped going to school.” For four months, Boshanna didn’t attend school. Even when she faced truancy court, her dedicated Big Sister never lost faith in her. They talked about it, and Big Sister Karen let Boshanna know she was disappointed and that she felt graduating high school was crucial. With a new resolve to succeed both in and out of the classroom, Boshanna returned to school.
A Few Goals Lead to a Winning Outcome
Gavin used to lie in bed, crying, because his dad showed no interest in being part of his life. Dealing with the pain of that crowded out everything else. He started struggling with his grades and getting in trouble at school. Gavin’s mom was worried about her son, so one of the resources she turned to was Big Brothers Big Sisters. Gavin was matched with Big Brother Nick, who he met with a big smile. Nick showed up with a set of goals, which turned out to be all their match needed.
Hidden beneath Sophie’s shy demeanor was an artist who just needed help being brought to the surface. Her Big Sister Lynne, turned out be that help, but it didn’t come easy. At first, Lynne struggled to find connection points with Sophie, but after the two began talking about books, the two established trust and respect in their relationship. The two characteristics would prove to be essential as they traveled out of the library and on a story book journey to find Sophie’s inner artist.
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.
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.
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.
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.