Everyone has heard of Big Brothers and Big Sisters.  Do you know what that means?  Perhaps you have known a person who did so and mentored a child or teen.  The commitment is less than you might think, though those I know who have done so, have greatly exceeded that because they have a new friend for life and both have benefited from the positive relationship.  Here in the North Sound there is a huge need.   Go to http://www.bbbs-snoco.org  for all of the opportunities to assist.

There are 75 young people on a waiting list.

53 are waiting for a Big Brother that might help them with math, sports, take a hike, or just hang out for an afternoon talking about the challenges facing a young boy in youth.

There are also 22 girls waiting for someone to just talk to about their favorite sport, homework, pressures facing young girls and the challenges faces a young girl in youth.

According to Pamela Diehm, Executive Director Big Brothers Big Sisters of Snohomish County, “our Littles face much greater exposure to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) than the general population. Social isolation can both increase the likelihood of ACEs, such as exposure to domestic violence, abuse, and neglect and compound the effects of trauma and ACEs, which can have a lasting effect on mental health and physical well-being throughout life. Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring relationships protect against harmful effects of ACEs and help young people with childhood trauma. Once we are through this immediate crisis, we know that our children and families will continue to feel lasting, profound effects. Our work could not be more urgent.”

While Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) are a large part of this picture, there is another side as well.

Perhaps there is the loss of a parent.  While a single Mom can probably deal with a young girl with issues, she might have a harder time with a son, needing a male influence to balance their life.  Conversely, a Dad with a daughter might find it hard to navigate pubescent years, without a female influence.  Without a family community for whatever reason to step in and help these can be very trying times.

Further, she commented, “we took immediate action to maintain and support the vital, life-changing mentoring relationships we facilitate and professionally support in order to fight social isolation of our young people and families. We have continued to support our Bigs, Littles, and families throughout quarantine. With the use of virtual communication platforms such as ZOOM, Facetime, and others, we are providing match support services and supporting our mentoring matches with community resources and ideas for staying in touch in different ways. Our matches are reading books and discussing them virtually; playing video games online while catching up on their days; doing drive-by with signs of encouragement for their Littles; writing letters to each other; and much more. In addition, we have continued to enroll new Bigs and youth and to make new matches.”

The vision and mission are simple:  All youth achieve their full potential and to do so you create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.

Founded in 1904, it merged with the sister group founded about the same time in 1977.  They operate in all 50 states and 12 countries.

IT DOESN’T COST A LOT OF MONEY.  Just a big heart and a little time to help a “Little”.  Maybe an ice cream cone!