AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Big Brothers Big Sisters organization offers one on one mentoring relationships for kids ages 6 to 14 in the Texas panhandle who need an extra supportive adult in their life.
The non-profit finds it harder to find volunteers during the pandemic.
Mentoring the children looks different with social distancing and virtual meets....
New challenges include the way the interview process goes, matching the bigs to their littles and finding volunteers in general.
“Our new challenges is, once COVID hit, it put a stop to pretty much everything, you know with our organization. And we had to find new ways for our bigs and littles to still stay in touch because, you know, that’s, they’re each others life lines,” said Lori Crofford, resource development director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Texas Panhandle.
“The challenges that really we’ve seen with our matches, is really obviously the meeting. Whenever we had quarantine and stuff at the beginning, that was kind of rough because we had matches who met every week or every weekend. And they kind of had to figure out a way to adjust to that,” said Chris Flores, enrollment and match specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Texas Panhandle.
Since children are at home during the pandemic, they are in need of a big now more than ever.
“With our kids being so isolated during COVID, they are needing those mentors, those extra people that they can talk to and share ideas with and you know, even if they’re in virtual learning or in school learning,” said Crofford.
Now bigs are finding creative ways to still meet with their littles even if it is virtually.
“Once COVID hit you know we had to look into other things like virtual mentoring which meant you know Facetiming and texting and phone calls and zoom meetings. And you know, even some of our littles and bigs you know they were able to connect through their gaming systems or through Netflix,” said Crofford.
“They both swap recipes. So the big will give the little a recipe, little will give the big a recipe and then they’ll Facetime each other and cook each others recipes,” said Flores.
“Some of our bigs and littles are meeting face to face these days, but you know, they’re using masks, they’re practicing social distancing,” said Crofford.
The nonprofit finds it harder to find male volunteers to sign up. Right now the organization has about 20 children on their waiting list, waiting to be matched with their big, but they only have 2 bigs waiting to be matched with their little.
To sign up to volunteer to be a mentor, click here.