Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Big Brothers Big Sisters

A summer a very long time ago (2005) I spent my summer working for Big Brothers Big Sisters Saint John running summer programming for their "Littles" who were on the waiting list for a "Big".  Believe it or not, by the end of the summer using "Littles" and "Bigs" as nouns seemed completely normal.  It also seemed impossible not to "take one home with me" so to speak. 

For those of you unfamiliar with Big Brothers Big Sisters they are an organisation that matches mentors with children at risk (this can be for a variety of reasons, often from single parent families).  The traditional route was to match a Big Sister with a Little Sister or a Big Brother with a Little Brother.  The Big and Little would then hang out once a week for a few hours. However, many areas now have mentors who go into schools as well as summer programming.  Also, due to the shear number of boys on the waiting list sometimes, in the right circumstances, a Little Brother might be matched with a Big Sister. 

That's what happened in our case.  For a variety of reasons, including the fact that I was living with my parents and brothers at the time so my Little would be spending time with the whole family, plus the fact that we'd become friends over the summer, I chose a Little Brother- we'll call him K.  Before you can be matched you do an interview with BBBS which helps ensure that everyone is a good match and you need a police check but nothing overly strenuous.  Every year BBBS has a meeting to make sure that everyone is still happy with the arrangement and to offer their support should you be running into any issues.

Can't get over how tiny K was!

Bonfire at Uncle Brian and Aunty Juff's

Easter Egg Decorating

Celebrating a Birthday

Sugar Cube Igloo... I so love that elf hat K!
Note my little bro providing Big Brother experiences and stealing sugar
A year later I was a lousy Big Sister and I moved across the Pond to the UK.  However, by that time my parents were ready to apply to be K's Big Couple.  That's right, you and your other half can be a Big Couple and mentor a Little together.  This means you both meet with BBBS and get clearance.  Fast forward to 2011 and K is in high school (craziness!!) which means he doesn't have quite as much time for Uncle Brian and Aunty Juff (that's what he called them when he was matched with me so it stuck) these days but they still go to movies, shows at the Imperial, meet for lunch (since his high school isn't far from Dad's work) etc fairly regularly.

K & His Mom with us at Canadian Wedding Reception

Uncle Brian, K and Aunty Juff on annual trip to Sugarbush
Members of Martinon Yacht Club take Bigs and Littles out sailing every year.

Trolley Ride at Rockwood Park for Husband's Birthday

I tag along for annual trip to Sussex Balloon Festival.
The guy who does balloon animals there is AMAZING.
Worth waiting 30 min in line every year. Eat fudge while you wait.
Ever thought about becoming a Big Brother or Sister but concerned you'd be bad at it?  You won't!  Everyone brings something different to the experience but one thing I learned is that you don't have to come up with something huge to do every week.  Sometimes we'd go to a movie and play at the arcade first.  Sometimes we'd eat out.  But often we'd do crafts at home, put together a shoebox for Operation Christmas child, play board games.  Mum would get things together for homemade pizza.  These are things anyone could come up with.
Anyway, I've babbled enough for today.  This is a very long post! Big thanks to K for giving me permission to post some of our old photos when I tagged along with them to see X-Men a couple of weeks ago. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great blog entry Leigh-Ellen!I feel honored!
From- "K"