MENTORING ALONGSIDE COVID-19
You are not in this alone. Don't hesitate to contact the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Indiana.
Please call our office with any questions or to set up an appointment:
Office - 812-425-6076
Temporary office hours at this time
Scheduling Appointments are Encouraged
Khrista York, Match Support Specialist - firstname.lastname@example.org
Heather Hicks, Match Support Specialist - email@example.com
Amanda Metzger, Enrollment Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org
Call Us At: (812) 425-6076 - For Enrollment Director, Amanda M., press 1
For Senior Case Manager Khrista, press 2, For Case Manager Bailey, press 3
For Case Manager Heather, press 4, For Executive Director, Andrew, press 5
For Marketing Coordinator, Amanda R., press 6, For Bookkeeper, Lisa, press 7
CLICK HERE FOR A LETTER TO OUR VOLUNTEERS.
CLICK HERE for things to do with your Little: The back to school edition
If you do start in-person outings, please use reasonable safety precautions.
• While traveling together by car we recommend you each wear a mask.
• Consider uncrowded outdoor activities, if possible.
• Avoid any close physical contact.
• Wash hands and bring along hand sanitizer.
• Parents should communicate any restrictions they require and give specific approval to the outing.
• Bigs should be clear on planned activities when communicating with parents.
• Large groups should be avoided.
• Stay local and keep outings to a reasonable length at this time.
We thank Girl Scouts USA for their kindness and generosity in offering these virtual resources to our matches... CLICK HERE FOR VIRTUAL 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.
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 that 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 an 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 you!) might find interesting? Check out the TakeLessons YouTube channel for lessons on singing, learning Spanish, learning sign language, playing piano, and much more!
VIRTUAL MATCH ACTIVITIES
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. There will be 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, draw along with your Little with Flockdraw, 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!
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