(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – For one local family, Big Brothers Big Sisters offered not only mentorship but support and understanding during a difficult journey.
Jennifer Wieland reached out to the organization when her husband’s ALS became progressively worse. She was interested in connecting her boys with someone who could help keep them engaged in their interests and do ‘guy’ things with them while she juggled being a mom and a caretaker for her husband. She was looking for someone to continue to be a positive male role model in her son’s lives.
Sadly, her husband passed away due to the illness. Two of Jen’s sons were enrolled in BBBS at that time and the organization offered extra support and opportunity for the children to process such a loss.
“The Big Brothers Big Sisters program is such an asset to the community,” explained Jen. “Our experience with the program has been such a blessing to me and my family. They did a fantastic job matching my boys with the perfect Bigs. Because of the program and the wonderful matches, my boys have gotten to experience and do things that they may not otherwise get to do such as canoeing, golfing, roller skating, and attending the OSU spring game. I am grateful for everything.”
Jen has since enrolled her youngest son into the program as well and all three boys continue to build thriving relationships with their mentors. “Big Brothers Big Sisters was proud to be a support system for them during that time,” added Olivia Scally, Director of Marketing with BBBS.
When it comes to the future of our children and the well-being of our communities, we’re all in this together. So, it should come as no surprise that we need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved in every step of the way, starting with the initial match.
Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister. Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways, including:
- Approving activities and outings for your child and their Big
- Asking your child questions about those outings, and sharing what you learn with the agency staff
- Reporting your child’s progress and milestones to the agency on a regular basis (Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you, but we welcome your feedback any time)
- Participating in training on child safety offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and communicating with your child about the training he or she receives.