SIDNEY – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County is on track to still have its Big Buddies program that starts mid-October every year.
Big Buddies is a program that has been extremely beneficial for youth in the program. Big Buddies involves high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and senior volunteers who show up two times per month to mentor elementary students. During these meetings, high school students, under the supervision of Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, work with one or two children on educational and recreational activities.
These activities consist of a curriculum that is set before the sessions start for the year. Curriculum for the 2020-201 school year will utilize social emotional learning strategies to benefit all areas of lives.
Social emotional learning is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This curriculum is set in hopes to teach the littles in the program all about each one of these aspects and the importance of practicing this in real life.
With all the uncertainties that have been going on this year, Big Brothers Big Sisters is thankful to be able to continue its Bug Buddies program. The organization will take safety protocols to keep all involved safe and healthy.
The Big Buddies staff plan to have a baggie of supplies for each student. The supplies with be cleaned before it is placed in the bags and cleaned after every session for safety measures. These baggies will have each student’s name on it, so they stay separate for each student. During the programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters will do its best to practice social distancing guidelines, wear face mask coverings and clean down all surfaces that will be used.
Along with planning the Big Buddies program in person, Big Brothers Big Sisters staff members are arranging a virtual option for Big Buddies. The virtual option gives the ability to continue to serve students who have chosen to do online learning with their school work as well. This virtual option will still consist of bigs and littles logging on at a certain day and time to be able to communicate and do activities with the social emotional learning curriculum.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County, a United Way supported agency, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children reach their full potential, which it does by matching children with volunteers to develop and nurture quality relationships. The relationship is meant to guide each child toward becoming a confident, competent and caring individual.
During this time, Big Brothers Big Sisters is not doing recruitment but will take any contact information from individuals who would like to join the program in the future. Once things open back up to a more normal routine, the organization will reach out to these individuals to begin the process but, due to safety protocol, is keeping its groups smaller in nature to begin.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer may call the office at 937 -492-7611, 937-547-9622 or log on to the agency website at www.bigbrobigsis-shelbydarke.org.