Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County launched our school based program to much success. This year, we are excited to announce that not only is the program returning, it’s expanding, providing the community with even more ways to become involved in BBBS! The response to last year’s program was higher than expected, so our needs have also increased. We had eleven 2nd-4th grade Littles matched to a Big last year and 13 additional kids on the waiting list, and our hope for 2022-2023 is to find Bigs for those waitlist students and match an additional 60 children from the 2nd to 9th grades.
Why become a Big? To change a young life for the better in concrete ways! According to youth.gov, having a close, one on one relationship with a reliable adult mentor benefits school age children in a multitude of ways, including increased high school graduation rates, increased school attendance, higher college enrollment rates, stronger relationships with parents, teachers, and peers, and increased self esteem and confidence.
These relationships also benefit the mentor, with adult volunteers experiencing an increased understanding of youth and dedication to their well being, increased self esteem, and a greater sense of community connection, making the Big/Little relationship a win all around.
Our school based program options are also an excellent way to become a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor without having to invest quite as much time and planning as being a community based Big requires.
Interested in becoming involved? Here are our three school based mentoring program options:
Lunch Buddies is our original school based program and focuses on Bigs spending 45 minutes per week visiting their Little at school, having lunch, answering ice breaker questions, and playing a game or going outside together. The pilot program ran in Estabrook Elementary school during the 2022-2022 school year and this year will also run at Erickson Elementary.
Our new Big Buddies program is similar to Lunch Buddies, only rather than matching elementary students with an Adult mentor from the community, we’re matching them with a local High School student. This is a wonderful opportunity for younger students to bond with older students closer to their age and get a glimpse into what their own educational futures might look like. It also gives the older students a chance to develop their own socioemotional learning, executive functioning, and feelings of accomplishment and self esteem. Big Buddies will run exclusively in Estabrook Elementary during this school year.
We are also launching a new MentorU program for the 2022-2023 school year. This program will focus on matching 9th grade students from Ypsilanti High School with a community based mentor who will visit them weekly to discuss and explore their college and career plans.
Becoming a mentor to a school aged youth is a fantastic way to positively impact not just their lives, but yours as well, and with the new school year quickly approaching, there’s no time like the present to get involved!
If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, email Rachel.Sulkowski@BBBSWashtenaw.org, call 734-217-4550, or sign up for an informational session by clicking here
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