As we said above, our approach to our work will not change.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana will continue to be 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.
- 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 have monthly or quarterly contact with your Match Support Specialist!
Amidst so much turmoil and disruption, one thing is clear: Our Little Brothers and Sisters needs us now more than ever. We here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana are ready and willing to provide you with the tools and resources you need to continue to provide that love, support, and guidance.
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, become a scientist, explore the world, become a great cook, learn a second (or third!) language, become a yogi, or learn how to dance!
- Don't hesitate to day-dream! Plan future activity ideas you two might do together once it's safer to move about in the community.
- Have a Movie night! Plan to watch the same movie and discuss via phone or text message either during or after.
- Watch a virtual concert together! There are a ton of artists who are hopping on the bandwagon and hosting virtual and free concerts for their fans! Here's a list from NPR that might be helpful (https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/816504058/a-list-of-live-virtual-concerts-to-watch-during-the-coronavirus-shutdown)
- Start a cooperative journal by using a platform like Story Bird or Google Docs to document the day-to-day.
- Have a virtual book club! You can read to your Little via FaceTime, WhatsApp Skype, or Zoom, or plan to read the same book and discuss with each other.
- Have a library card? Libby is a great resource for accessing downloadable free e-books!
- Schedule an activity to virtually check out a museum or visit a zoo (or two!) together! Check out Zoom for an easy way to share your screen and explore together!
- Does your Little like to build? Purchase duplicate Lego sets or jigsaw puzzles and send one to both you and your Little. Share your progress by sending photos via text message and see who can complete their project first!
- Schedule game time! Using app-based games like Words with Friends, Draw Something, Chess (click here for the web version), Checkers, or Bowling can be great ways to engage and connect with your Little, while enjoying some down time.
- Does your Little have virtual homework assignments they're trying to tackle? Offer to lend a helping hand! Whether it's a book report, an algebra lesson, or anything else you can be incredibly helpful in assisting your Little in transitioning to digital learning.
We know many of our parents will be feeling the stress of supporting and providing for their children over the weeks and months to come. We wanted to be sure every Big had specific resources that might be helpful to pass along to parents who may turn to you for support:
- NPR coming through in the clutch (as always!) with this helpful, interactive guide for how to chat with kids about COVID-19.
- Our friends over at Common Sense have some great videos and other resources that can help families to better understand what's going in the news and how to react to it, as well as stay calm and learn at home.
- The Child Mind Institute outline some great resources and approaches on how to talk with younger kids about COVID-19. Here's another great article too from PBS.
- Need some family mindfulness amidst all the disruption? Ten Percent Happier has a bevy of resources and daily updates for families struggling to cope.
- Looking for activities? Here are 50 easy/cheap indoor activities to keep kids busy.
- National Child Traumatic Stress Network offers an incredible COVID-19 Coping Guide with specific strategies and recommendations for each age group.
We have so many ideas for how to support you and your Little throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We are looking forward to being able to provide:
- Regular emails and text messages with resources and activity ideas
- Training on how best to practice the core tenants of Virtual Mentoring
- Training on the basics of Zoom and how it may be a great option to connect with and "see" your Little
- Virtual Bigs Night Out sessions so you can stay connected with your fellow Bigs
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.