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Big Brothers Big Sisters- Any experience? - Page 2

post #16 of 24
bluetree, that's certainly a problem that can occur with some mentoring programs, but please don't paint them all with such a broad brush. For every program that offers insufficient match support or does a poor job connecting the right mentor and mentee, there are dozens that are doing good work. As for effectiveness, I don't think anyone would claim that an hour a week will cure every child's problems. The statistics, however, show that a mentoring relationship such as that used by BB/BS can have incredible effects on the child including decreased experimentation with drugs, higher self-esteem, higher perception of scholastic capability, and smoother relationships with family and peers. As you mentioned, some kids need more than a casual mentor can offer, but for some it's a literal godsend. Ultimately, it's the job of people like myself to look into that and see which children are going to be helped by a mentor and which ones are likely to be disappointed by the particular assistance that a mentoring program can provide.
post #17 of 24
ive always wanted to do this but was never sure I could make the long term commitment. I have been worried about having to move for work or something and thought it would do more harm than good.

Looking back, Ive been in the same place for 5 years now. Ugh...
post #18 of 24

Hello!

 

When I was 5 years old I was the oldest of 4 kids, my mother was single raising us on state aid. I was partnered with my big sister, Katrina was her name. We hit if off right off the bat, she made me feel something I only felt around her. I know my mom wanted to do more for us she was just financially unable. Katrina and I did so many things together, we even went to adventureland! I have so many fond memories. We did not have to spend money to have fun, we would color, read books, go fishing and even bike riding. I am 36 years old today and throughout the years Katrina and I have stayed in contact, she means the world to me. I enjoyed our time together. I don't know if she really knew how excited I would be to go with her, as I got older I felt guilty that she was so kind to me and I had nothing to give in return. Little did I know, me smiling and laughing was all she needed. This program changed my life and I am so happy that I had such a wonderful experience. I can only hope everyone in the program could have someone as wonderful as my Katrina. I love her and I always will.

post #19 of 24
Not much too add, I never did the program. However, I did audit it and can tell you it's very well run.
post #20 of 24

That's awesome. I had a similar experience with my big brother. His name was John and I think he was an investment banker or broker or something. He was very professional. He would pick me up and we would shoot hoops or throw the ball. The simplest activities were so fun to me. I remember going to a tradeshow with him and he won free passes to a ski resort in colorado. He ended up trading up to a better resort to someone else who had won better resort passes. He was quite the wheeler-n-dealer. We went to Breckenridge the following weekend. I am 28 now but that ski trip is still a vivid memory for me. It was a lot of fun. I know feel the burning desire to pay it forward, and volunteer for the program. I have been thinking about it my whole life and I think I am finally at a place in my life where I can pull the "long term" commitment. I believe that it is a one year commit.

 

My fear: I don't want to come and go in a young person's life and make things worse for them. I really want to assess if I can do it for a year, and I think I can.

post #21 of 24
I have been a Big Brother for years and the mentoring experience has been a life changer for my mentees. I exposed them to college and my network of professionals and they have learned how to be successful. One is on track to being a millionaire from meager meager beginnings. Just don't do it if you can't commit for at least 2 to 3 years.
post #22 of 24
How do you bow out of something like being a big brother, even after putting in decent time?
post #23 of 24
It's not about bowing out in all cases. Sometimes the kid becomes disinterested, life changes, time constraints etc. But I have on the other hand known life-long friendships resulting in successful business ventures and legacy changing positive outcomes resulting from the mentoring experience.
post #24 of 24

Yes. Here is my story. Takes place in West Michigan  I was matched with a 13 year old boy.  We became good friends right off the bat.  The problem was his immediate family.  Mom is involved in a hostile divorce with her ex-husband.  Her new husband has drug felonies and domestic violence.  My littles twin brother was also matched with a big.  We lived in rural farm country actually about 5 miles apart and figured out we attended the same church of about 1,000 members when we first met.  Its the parents that were the whole problem.  I felt in my gut mom was using the program as a weapon against her ex-husband to rub it in on how dysfunctional she says he is.  Her ex-husband would have sit down chats with me at various restaurants to pump me for information my little might be saying against his ex.  Incidentally he never even purchased a coffee for me ever.  Multiple court battles where twins were used by both parents against each other. Parents would make up allegations against the other parent with CPS involved all the time, police visits pretty regular.   Just horrible.  Everything went good, until father won more custody about 9 months later and informed me at another sit down that Big Brother is only for kids with no dad around or alive and his son was misplaced into the program by his ex wife.  1 year comes up.  I get a call from Big Brother people and they say "relationship is over - allegations have been made against you and were not discussing any further"   They also informed me that Big Brother would send me a nasty letter cutting me off and its not open for discussion and the workers hung up on me.  So to me that is another problem.  Big Brother Big Sisters through me under the bus.  I haven't heard from them since the phone call.  Haven't heard from littles family or CPS or cops or anything in over 5 months.  So good luck.  Be careful.  

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