Continuing the series of PBF reader-submitted stories about amazing volunteer experiences, Lauren, Nikki and Ashley share about their experiences with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network. The organization makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country and aim to create positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
You may find more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters on their website by visiting this link:
In January of 2011, I filled out my application and attended mentor training classes for BBBS. Almost immediately, I was matched with a seemingly shy 6-year-old girl who I was told liked crafts and was pretty outgoing. Over the past two years, she has opened up a lot and I have learned how to have more fun and be a kid at times.
Over the past two years my relationship with my mentee has grown and we have done a TON of fun things together, including canoeing, hiking, kid friendly yoga, bowling, painting pottery and so much more.
One of the aspects of my life I have tried to share with my mentee is healthy living. Whenever we hang out, I bring a nutritional lunch or snacks for her (pb&j on whole wheat, oranges, bananas, carrots,dried mango slices, etc.) and water. Additionally, I try to incorporate some kind of movement into our time together. After all, going to the park and having a picnic is FREE and FUN whereas other activities may not be.
My volunteering experience has not only taught me more about how kids operate, but has made a positive impact on a young person’s life.
To read more about my busy life – including marathon training, healthy eats (and the occasional sweet) and other shenanigans, visit justcallmesassy.blogspot.com.
I’m a teacher in an inner-city school district and every day I go home wishing I could take some of my kids home with me so they would be able to eat dinner, walk my dog with me, or at least watch TV. I decided last year around this time that I wanted to get involved in an organization to be involved on a whole different level with kids that would allow me to give the love to kids they need outside of school.
My search led me to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. This program matches a child (a “little”) from an under-privileged home with an adult (a “big”) who wishes to donate their time. After going through the 4-step process to actually become a big sister, I was matched with my little, Nafeesa. It was nerve-wracking meeting this 10-year old girl for the first time. I’m a teacher so I thought this would be a breeze, but the “what if she doesn’t take well to me?” and “what if she doesn’t want to do the activities I have planned with her?”thoughts wouldn’t go away.
Luckily, my worries were put to ease when I met her. We clicked instantly and have spent so much time together over the past 6 months. We’ve gone ice skating, roller skating, sledding, to the zoo, to play at the park. We’ve baked cupcakes, made fun breakfasts and treats to bring home to her mom. I wouldn’t trade my time with Nafeesa for anything. I look forward to each time I spend with her!
Hi everyone! My name is Ashley and I’m from Toronto, Canada.
I’ve been involved in the volunteer sector for as long as I can remember and have loved each and every experience. My long standing passion for charity even translated into developing my career in the not-for-profit sector!
I’ve always known how fortunate I am to have a great family and friends, a good education and access to resources that are often taken for granted. Volunteering and giving back is a great way to get more involved in the community and to feel that you’re really doing something important.
I had the opportunity to volunteer as an after-school tutor to a child in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. I was involved with the organization for four years and had a phenomenal experience.
Twice I week I would meet “my child” at her school. We would share an after-school snack, talk about how our weeks were going & review academic performance over the week, complete homework and set goals together. Though my primary responsibility was to tutor, it really involved providing support and mentorship in all aspects of the child’s life.
The majority of children in the program come from a disadvantaged background or broken family situations and struggle with both school work and aspects of their personal life. What I loved most about this program was that each year the mentors were assigned to one student for the entirety of the school year. This meant that very close relationships formed between my mentee and me and I was able to see the impact of my work. With practically every child I mentored, I saw an improvement in grades, self-esteem and their ability to open up to me about various problems they were having in their personal life – from bullying to simply having a crush on a boy in their class.
Volunteering as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters was such a great experience and something I’d like to pick up again. I really recommend it for anyone who’s interested in working with children one-on-one and who wants to feel that personal connection to a cause.
Thanks so much to Julie for providing us with an opportunity to share our volunteering experiences! Giving back is so important and I hope that reading these stories will inspire everyone to get out there and get involved.
Additional volunteer stories include: