(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of people or all people.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio launched the Building Brotherhood program in January of 2018. The agency launched the program as a response to a growing waiting list of boys and a lack of male mentors.
“Common feedback about the hesitancy to enroll as a big was men not knowing what they would do with a Little,” explained Olivia Scally, Director of Development and Marketing.
The Building Brotherhood program utilized an already strong partnership between BBBS and the YMCA where scheduled dates and times were made available for male matches to utilize the facility. From basketball to racquetball, to swimming, board games and more, there was now always something the Bigs could do with their Littles.
“While attending during those time slots isn’t required for these matches, it gives them that option and they will sometimes also run into other BBBS matches in the program there that they can hang out with,” said Scally. “We found that all of the Building Brotherhood matches that started by utilizing that structured time ended up branching out and coming up with other activities just after a few months of the relationship developing. They realized they had other common interests to explore and things to do.”
There is currently a waiting list of around 30 boys eager for a male role model. The boys that are waiting come from a variety of backgrounds but have one common desire: getting matched with their own Big. Ages range from 7 – 13.
“Being a Big has inspired me to be a better man, as I’ve walked life with my Littles, I’ve seen the need for a male figure in kids’ lives more than ever,” explained Correy, a Building Brotherhood Big. “In my opinion, the easiest and most accessible way to make a huge impact in our world right now is being a Big to a Little.”
Matches are made based on common interests and individual preferences after a detailed interview process. Outside of the YMCA activities, matches can go fishing, biking, the movies, the park, or really any other activity that interests them.
“We believe that these boys on our waiting list all have enormous potential,” added Scally. “However, it is our responsibility as a community to defend that potential, to stand by their side as they grow into the men of our future.”
Anyone interested in becoming a Big can contact BBBS for more information.