You are not in this alone. Don't hesitate to contact the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana.
Khrista York, Match Support Specialist - firstname.lastname@example.org Cell 812-647-6837
Heather Hicks, Match Support Specialist - email@example.com Cell 812-618-2120
Amanda Metzger, Enrollment Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org Cell 812-465-2039
We hope this finds you and your family doing well. These are unprecedented times.As our nation continues to respond to the public health crisis posed by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we have made the difficult decision to suspend all face-to-face contacts between Bigs, Littles, Families, and Program Staff. While we have not determined how long this suspension will last, we can say this will be our policy until federal and state policies on social distancing are relaxed or ended.
APART BUT TOGETHER ACTIVITIES:
While you and your Little may be apart, the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana wants to provide you with ideas on how you can stay connected. This may be a very lonely, scary time for your Little, and as a Big, you can provide support and keep your relationship growing.
SCHOOL | SITE BASED PROGRAM
Write letters to your Little
Make personalized cards for your Little
Make your Little a bracelet or a special craft (e.g. drawing, a knitted/crocheted item)
These items can be delivered to your Little when you come back together.
While you’re away, send a picture of the letter/card/craft to your Match Support Specialist and they’ll send an image to the guardian.
COMMUNITY BASED PROGRAM
Facetime, Phone Calls, Text Messages
Connect through a fun ‘app’ game on your phone/tablet.
This could include checkers, chess, or cards!
Write letters to your Little
Email one another
Read a book together and discuss it
Watch the same movie or show and talk about your favorite parts.
Decide on a new talent/skill to work on (e.g. art, reading)
Discuss the positive parts of the day and what you each are thankful for
Create a list of future outing ideas, which can be something to
look forward to
Ask your Little, “What emotions are you feeling right now? What can I do to be a good friend to you?” Let them know, “You’re not alone.”
OUR APPROACH TO COVID-19
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana will continue to be singularly focused on partnering with you to meet the needs of the youth we serve that may go unmet in their schools and communities.
However, as we move forward together, that work will look completely different.
With face-to-face contacts suspended, here's how we anticipate the program will be shifting:
All mentoring will be done virtually via telephone, smart phone, social platforms, and/or video conferencing solutions.
Matches will be no longer required to see each other for 6-10 hours each month, but Bigs will be encouraged to make weekly contacts with their Littles throughout the duration of the public health crisis.
Our Match Support Staff will be providing on-going case management support just as they always have, but will also be focused on providing a bevy of digital resources to help all Bigs continue to have fun supporting the needs of their Little.
You are still expected to make monthly contact with your Match Support Coordinator!
TIPS FOR STAYING CONNECTED
Not being able to see your Little face-to-face will present some new challenges to your relationship, but following the tips below will help you navigate through these difficulties while continuing to help your Little reach their highest potential.
Rely on regular phone calls and text messages, or video chats via FaceTime or WhatsApp to stay connected with your Little. Use this resource or this resource for great conversation starters for kids and check out this resource or this resource to get chatting with teens!
Snail mail - still a thing! Write letters to your Little (become pen pals!), send postcards, a homemade card, pass along some print-at-home games (like these puzzles or these coloring pages), or send them a homemade craft (like these bracelets, or one of these quick/easy kids crafts)
STAY CONSISTENT! However you choose to connect, your consistency is more important to your Little now more than ever. Find days, times, and methods that work best for both of you, create a plan, set a schedule, and stick to it! This will make it easier on you both, while giving you each something to look forward to and depend on.
ASK QUESTIONS! It's no surprise that everyone's day-to-day schedule is experiencing incredible upheaval. Reaching out and chatting with your Little and their parent/guardian about when is best to reach out, what days and time are easiest, and how you can help are questions that will be enormously helpful for you (and your Little!) in staying connected.
With school's closed across the area, we know many Bigs will be focused on helping stem the tide of learning loss while their Littles are spending time at home. Check out the resources below to help your Little stay sharp and continue to focus on their academics from home.
Khan Academy offers a FREE library of trusted, standards-aligned practice and lessons covers math K-12 through early college, grammar, science, history, AP, SAT, and more.
Common Sense has a bunch of great (and free!) education websites and apps that kids can access (with parent permission!) to help stem the tide of learning loss. Check them out here for more info and find what resource might be best for your Little!
Is your Little interested in coding? Scratch was designed for children ages 8-16 and uses easy-to-use programming language to let kids build almost anything they can dream. There are no obscure lines of code here. Instead, arrange and snap together Scratch blocks as if they are virtual Legos!
Want to turn this into a Match Activity? Use Scratch right alongside your Little and venture through their online lessons together!
Has there ever been a better time for podcasts? Check out this website to access funny, smart, and scientific podcasts that keep kids engaged.
Want to turn this into a Match Activity? Pick a podcast you both enjoy and listen along together! Then, after each episode, connect and discuss using slightly revised, book-club style questions.
Do you have a teenager interested in public health or psychology? Here is a laundry list of resources that they can explore!
Want to turn this into a Match Activity? Pick a resource and explore it together. Or, have your Little review a specific resource they might be excited about and teach you about what they learned!
Looking for a virtual lesson your Little (and your!) might find interesting? Check out the TakeLessons YouTube channel for lessons on singing, learning Spanish, learning sign language, playing piano, and much more!
Want to turn this into a Match Activity? Take the lesson right alongside your Little and learn together!
Our friends at Scholastic offer day-by-day projects to keep kids in grades K-9 reading, thinking, and growing. These are updated each day and present four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!
Is your Little interested in writing? BoomWriter inspires children to write and develop important literacy skills, and our parent app will keep you ‘In the loop’ with your child’s progress.
VIRTUAL MATCH ACTIVITIES
There will be a many more of these to come over the coming days and weeks, but we wanted to get you started with a few Match Activity ideas that you can dive into this weekend with your Little!
• Develop a talent, skill, or passion together! There is a ton of experts creating exceptional online content right now that can help you and your Little learn to draw or doodle, perfect an in-home workout, practice ballet, explore the world, become a great cook, learn a second (or third!) language, or learn how to dance!
Thank you for your commitment to helping a child in need during this challenging time. For children who are isolated, fearful and maybe just plain bored right now, your constancy and support can be the difference between regression and growth. Thank you.
Click here to read the full update on our response to COVID-19 on our website.
Click here for Community Programs and Resources For Those Impacted by COVID-19