Make a BIG impact in 2021, become a Big

You can make a BIG impact by mentoring through Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). Located in Scott’s Addition, BBBS offers one-to-one mentoring relationships to ignite the power and promise of youth. BBBS matches youth (Littles) with caring, consistent mentors (Bigs) who can help them grow in confidence, perform better at school and create a healthy lifestyle.

Big Brothers Big Sisters offers two programs for mentoring in Richmond:

  1. Community-based: A one-year commitment with 2 to 3 hours/week, meetups with individuals in this program take place at locations of a match’s choosing during or on weekends.
  2. Site-based: A three-semester commitment* with 1 hour/week, meetups with this program take place at a Little’s school (due to COVID-19 and the resulting changes to public schools, the site-based mentoring program is currently not making new matches.)

Throughout January, Big Brothers Big Sisters will be hosting recruitment events to celebrate National Mentoring Month. Head to bigbrobigsis.com to sign up for notifications for events. If you can’t make it to an event, but want to know what it means to be a Big, why you should become one and how it will impact your life, we’ll be featuring four different Bigs throughout the month of January.

Being a Big is an impactful commitment that you can start today. The answers shared by these Bigs have not been edited and are proof of the genuine and important relationships being created in the community.

To give you a sneak peek at our series, we’d like to introduce you to Big John and his Little Edward. 

Little’s Age 12 years old
Match Length 3+ years

Big John and Little Edward take a photo with a flying drone. Photo taken prior to COVID-19. As of December 1, 2020; BBBS strongly advises matches to meet virtually.

How did you first hear about BBBS and why did you become a Big?

I had always been aware of BBBS but about four years ago, I finally decided to take some time to learn a little more about what it was really about. I was looking for a way to spend some of my extra time that could positively impact someone else and BBBS seemed like a great way to do it. Growing up I had several role models that helped shape me into who I am today, and I thought it would be great if I could have a similar impact on someone. 

What do you feel your responsibilities as a Big are?

To listen and to have fun! It’s important to listen to what is going on in your Little’s life. It is also important to open up about your own life experiences and how they helped you become the person you are today. Sharing what you personally went through helps your little be able to open up about their personal experiences. I strive to be a positive influence and role model in Edward’s life and someone he feels he can reach out to with anything and everything that may be on his mind.

Where are typical places you and your Little go on a match outing? Any new routines with the shift to virtual and social distancing?

Edward and I enjoy a good mix of indoor and outdoor activities. Some fun things we have done include Jumpology, roller skating and hiking the various trails along the James River. No matter what the activity is, we always have a great time doing it!

Do you have a set day or time you go see your Little?  

No. We both have fairly flexible schedules, so it is easy to schedule time together.

How has being a Big impacted you? 

Being a Big has been great! It has pushed me out of my comfort zone in many ways and given me a friend for life.

Do you have a favorite story about your Little that you will always remember? 

At Edward’s fifth grade talent show, he performed a rendition of “Stand by Me” that brought the house down. The show to this point had been about what you would expect from a fifth grade talent show and Edward’s performance really stood out. I am very proud to be friends with such a talented kid!

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit its website or social channels (FacebookTwitter,). If you are interested in becoming a Big, visit the Be a Big page to start your journey as well as find information on the upcoming National Mentoring Month campaign.

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