The Pivot to Virtual Mentoring
This month we celebrate our first ever virtual match meeting, introducing a Little to his new Big Brother. To meet Ethan and his new mentor Jeff, head to this blog post.
It took weeks to prepare for this moment, making sure it would be as meaningful as the in-person match meetings that the other matches on our caseload had. We built guidelines for our new virtual matches, tested technology, and communicated with waiting Bigs, Littles, and their caregivers about our plans to introduce them from a distance.
In May we also closed several matches between high school Bigs and their elementary school Littles. These high school Bigs are graduating seniors who are moving on to their next chapter, and the formal closure of their match, with BBBS staff guiding the dialogue, is an important part of the process for both mentor and mentee.
April was our first month in years without making a new Big/Little mentor/mentee match. And yet, the community came forward to support our families’ most acute needs: food, housing resources, laptops for distance learning, and more. As an organization driven by one-to-one connections, the community proved that even in these extraordinary times, what’s most important remains true.
Our staff and community helped meet the immediate physical needs of our families during the last two months and helped us pivot:
- All matches are being encouraged to stay in touch weekly, virtually, via video chat, text, phone, and email
- Site-based matches, who previously met in schools or workplaces and weren’t allowed to communicate outside the program, now each have a private chat channel supervised by BBBS staff to connect with each other
- Site-based Littles’ parents and guardians, who previously didn’t have contact with the agency beyond signing permission slips are receiving match support calls to connect them with any needed resources (food, technology, academics, etc.)
- Assessing the needs of Littles’ families through a family needs survey that is allowing us to better connect them to additional support from our team
- Our monthly “Match Activities Newsletter” is full of digital activities and ideas for connecting Bigs and Littles virtually
- Our social media channels are helping to #KeepKidsConnected with activities like an online scavenger this past month
In the coming months, we look forward to making more virtual matches. We have many children waiting for an additional caring role model in their life. You can sign up to be a Big from your couch. Click here to book your phone or video chat meeting with one of our team to find out more.
Thank you for helping to make our work possible. We are #BiggerTogether.