Since January is National Mentoring Month and today is I am a Mentor Social Media Day, I would like to share with all of you the overwhelmingly positive experience I've had with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota. My time spent as both a Little and a Big has made me so confident in the work they do.
I was matched with my Big, Brandi, when I was in 7th grade. At that time, I was fairly shy and reserved, and BBBS found a wonderful, caring Big who was just right for me. Our match was a school-site match, so Brandi and I would meet during my school lunch time. We continued meeting throughout high school and got to know each other very well. I always knew Brandi really cared about me. Having an extra, positive adult in my life who cared about me was a great feeling, especially because I knew she had no obligation to care or spend time with me, she just chose to do so.
After finishing college, I wound up settling back in my hometown. Once I knew we'd be here for a while, I went to BBBS to start the process of finding my own Little. I wanted to give someone else the same positive experiences I had. I've been a Big for over two years and, once again, BBBS couldn't have found me a more perfect Little, Alea. We've been able to do a lot of fun things together over the last couple years.
BBBS really knows what they're doing. Their staff members put in a lot of work to appropriately match Bigs and Littles, yes, but their work doesn't end there. It seems they are always working behind the scenes, planning fun events for matches and keeping in touch with Bigs, Littles and their families to make sure everyone is getting the experience for which they hoped. The activities BBBS plans are fun and meaningful, things like summer picnics, an exercise class for matches and an annual holiday party. Additionally, Bigs get weekly updates with upcoming events and activity ideas.
I know the value of this program as a former Little myself. I see it in my Little now. But the value doesn't end there. Little did I know my experience as a Big would be as powerful as it has been. I've always known Big Brothers Big Sisters was an excellent program for children in our community, but now I know it's vital program to our community as a whole.
I put off becoming a big because I didn't think I had enough time to really give it my all. I'll be honest, I'm pretty busy and so is Alea, but I'm still so glad for the time we are able to spend together. Now that she's well into her junior high years and Trevor and I will have a new baby any day now, life will only get busier for both of us; however, I know we'll still do the best we can to do fun things together! I would encourage you to get in touch with your local mentoring agency and look into becoming a mentor. There are many options (school site like I had as a Little or community based like what I have with Alea, for example). We're all busy-we have families, jobs, hobbies, etc. but trust me, you won't regret it!