It’s easy to write a check to a charity and take the tax deduction, but giving up your time is a commitment that can impact the life of a child in ways only you and and that child will understand. This is a true story of a Big. A Big from our Houston Jewish Community who wrote plenty of checks, but was always looking for that one thing where he could give his time and energy and truly make a difference, and that was when Big Brothers Big Sisters found him.
The True Story of Becoming a Big
When J-Vibe Online Magazine connected to this Big, he was humble to say the least and enthusiastic about what he is doing to say the most. He didn’t want to talk about himself, but about Big Brothers Big Sisters. We want to highlight his journey because we feel it is something we can all learn from.
When a friend asked him to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters as a board member he didn’t hesitate, but he also knew that in order to fully immerse himself in the giving process he needed to be a part of that process. This man is the type of man that is committed 100% to what he does, so he applied to be a Big. Being a Big means that you agree to a background check and vetting process and are then matched with a child that the agency thinks will be a good fit. As a Big, you can decide whether or not you feel the child you are being matched with will be a good fit or not, and with over 10,000 kids, there will be a child that you will find you want to bond with.
Once he was matched with his Little, he made arrangements with the child’s mother and picked him up to take him on their first outing. He noticed that his Little was very quiet, but he figured that his new Little Brother just needed to get comfortable with him. Then his Little Brother asked him a very telling question,
‘Are you going to be around for a while?’
He is still around and he and his Little Brother have shared some amazing moments and milestones. They have gone on outings, he has attended his school functions, they have shared meals and they talk on the phone and text. They are truly a family and have a unique love that can only be found in the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
Change a Life
Big Brothers Big Sisters is unique in many ways. The mentors are all called ‘Bigs’ and the kids are all called ‘Littles’. If you are a man, you can only mentor boys, but a woman can mentor boys or girls. A couple or a family can become a Big and mentor a child. If you are over the age of 55, you can join the Generations mentoring program. You can mentor in the schools or in the community or even beyond the school walls. The programs that Big Brothers Big Sisters offers are numerous.
The Littles come from all different home environments, family structures, socio-ecomic levels, ethnic backgrounds and neighborhoods. It is definitely not a one size fits all, but what the kids all have in common is that they all have a need for friendship with a caring adult. And, if your Little is in High School, you can even join the Mentor2.0 program, which is one of the newest programs, by using technology for much of the interaction.
To change a life, it all starts with filling out an application and going through an interview process and background check. You don’t have to be rich, famous or brilliant, but you do have to be stable, positive and real because these kids need real people to be real role models for them. You don’t have to pay an annual fee and you don’t have to spend any money on your outings. It’s not about money, but about quality time and developing a relationship and a bond with your Little. You do have to agree to a one-year commitment, because for these kids it’s all about consistency, and it is about one hour a week or four hours a month that you spend with your Little.
The most important thing to remember when you become a Big is that in order to change a life and build trust, it takes time. Big Brothers Big Sisters provides additional match support staff to help you navigate with your Little, answer any questions you might have and most importantly show you the difference you will be making in the life of your Little.
The True Impact a Big Has on a Little
Nothing speaks louder than statistics and facts and Big Brothers Big Sisters has plenty of that to prove that their mentoring model works. They know that the kids that have had a solid mentor relationship:
- are more confident
- are more likely to steer clear of drugs and alcohol
- do better in school and graduate from High School
- get along better with their family and friends
- feel better about themselves
- are less likely to get into trouble
Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star
Since 1927, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been a donor supported volunteer youth mentoring program, and today, Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star Agency is the largest in the world of all the Big Brothers Big Sisters organizations. Started in Dallas, the organization began as a club where it recruited businessmen to mentor boys that were being failed by the system. In 1950, Big Brothers Big Sisters was brought to Houston by ten local Houston leaders where it first served 30 children. Today, the Houston program is one of the top 20 in the nation. Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star serves children in Northeast Texas (Paris), West Central Texas (Abilene, San Angelo and Brownwood) and Greater Houston, Waco, Waxahachie, Wichita Falls, Stephenville and Jack County.
J-Vibe Online Magazine believes in Big Brothers Big Sisters and they are definitely at the top of our list of agencies that #promotechange. Start something BIG and mentor.