Most people know that Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is an organization that promotes a one-on-one mentoring relationship between a trusted adult (Big) and a child (Little). Images of matches going fishing or to a ball game or volunteering at the local animal shelter fill their heads.
These community-based matches are extremely valuable, and we look forward to continue growing this portion of our program. But we have had our greatest successes in Pacific County in establishing our Bigs in Schools program, where we empower high school students as Bigs for their school district’s elementary Littles. Our newest addition of the Naselle School District’s program is one of the finest examples of just how beneficial such a program can be.
Robyn Handley, current AmeriCorps serving with BBBS in South Pacific County, lead the introduction of Bigs in Schools in Naselle this year. “I saw that Naselle was the only school district in the county that didn’t have Big Brothers Big Sisters,” said Handley. “So it seemed like a natural, vital step that we could take as an organization.”
“The special time and attention is invaluable for these younger kids,” said Laine, “[The Bigs’] positive messages and reinforcement of prosocial behavior sometimes resonates more strongly than those same messages given by adults. Students, parents, teachers, and administrators alike are thrilled with the program and couldn’t be happier with how it is going.”
What makes this program so special, though, is its impact on students, both high school and elementary. “It has been fun to see some of these older students coming out of their shell, taking pride in their participation in this program, and blossoming in their interactions with these younger students,” Laine continues.
With nine matches and growing, we couldn’t be more excited with how much of an impact these pairings are making now and the heights this program can reach. These high school leaders showing up to play board games, shoot hoops, or even draw life-sized pictures of each other gives both Bigs and Littles something tangible to look forward to every Friday.
One of Handley’s goals in starting this venture was to connect Naselle to even greater resources and strengthen the bonds of our community. That goal is realized in the school district seeking to hire an AmeriCorps volunteer for the 2018-2019 school year to split time between helping with BBBS matches and aiding in their students’ academic engagement. For more information about this AmeriCorps position, please contact Becky Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org. As our team grows, so does our impact.