Dear Bigs & Parents of Littles,
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio (BBBSNWO) have been working to adapt to the local, state, and federal guidelines for minimizing the risk of spreading the coronavirus (COVID- 19). With the community’s safety and health as a priority, the BBBSNWO’s office remains open but allow limited public access. Match Support Specialists remain available via phone, virtually, and email. BBBSNWO understands the now more than ever the need for safe, strong, active mentoring relationships.
At this time, Bigs & Littles ARE HIGHLY ADVISED to continue to meet virtually and continue to utilize the range of technology that is available. If the Big and Little do see each other in- person, Parent/Guardian approval is required. Please notify your Match Support Specialist (via email or phone) when you see your Little in-person. This practice will assist us with tracking in case of an outbreak. Proper health and safety measures are required and wear a face mask, wash hands frequently, and no closed building or spaces.
Only meet in-person in open-air areas such as parks or lakefront for social distancing practices, and NO HOME VISITS are allowed with your Little.
While we highly value conducting enrollment, match introductions, and mentoring in person, we will continue using video conferencing services (i.e., Zoom, Skype) to complete interviews and enrollment. These video conferencing services will also be used to conduct virtual match meetings. This practice will allow our program staff to both see and hear all match parties, Bigs, Littles, and Parent/Guardians, during the match introduction process, and support the match virtually.
Newly established matches must only contact each other via video conferencing for a minimum of 1 month before BBBSNWO staff will allow the Big and Little to meet in-person for one-to- one activities. Our active Community-Based matches continue to meet monthly virtually. Many are finding creative ways to mentor through social media, FaceTime, virtual movie time, cooking together via video conferencing, and many other creative ways to maintain a healthy mentoring relationship.
Our Littles need a positive mentor to connect with, as many of our Littles have social isolation issues, anxiety, and fear over the National health crisis, or are just lonely and feel down since they cannot visit with friends and family. Our mentors are stepping up and providing a positive and healthy relationship, regardless of in-person meetings or social distancing measures. Technology allows us to continue to mentor and be an essential part of our youth’s health and well-being.