BBBS Pen Pal Program becomes essential in keeping matches connected during COVID-19 pandemic

Big Brothers Big Sisters has been hard at work to #KeepKidsConnected and is asking for support on a global day of generosity.

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) –  COVID-19 is affecting all of us, but not equally. Vulnerable children and families are facing increased anxiety, fear, and worry. That’s why Big Brothers Big Sisters is stepping up to #KeepKidsConnected and continue their role as a vital resource for our community.

Since the announcement of school closures from Governor DeWine on March 12th, Big Brothers Big Sisters has had to act quickly to determine ways to keep 198 school-based matches connected. A normal school year gives matches closure and a celebration of the
relationship that was built throughout the week. However, the abrupt end to this weekly program meant that matches did not get their typical goodbye.

Additionally, the added stress and uncertainty the Littles in the programs are facing make their relationship with their Big even more essential, according to BBBS officials. They added that the Pen Pal program, which was inspired from the BBBS-Newsymom Pen Pal Program for Waiting Littles, has become critical to keeping matches connected. Bigs and Littles have been given the opportunity to continue their relationships through letters, with the Big Brothers Big Sisters office acting as the post office. Bigs are able to offer encouragement, support, and advice to their Littles and are receiving heartfelt and honest letters back.

As of today, over 200 letters and packages have been sent through the Big Brothers Big Sisters office. In addition to maintaining relationships and offering support, communication allows agency staff to offer support. Littles may mention that they are running out of ideas on how to keep themselves occupied or express frustration in a homework assignment they are struggling with. This allows staff to step in and provide ideas or assistance.

Additionally, Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes that many of our families are struggling. Even in the best of times, our Littles are facing adversity at a higher rate than the average young person in America. BBBS staff has committed to assembling packages full of snacks, school supplies, and activities and dropping them off at Littles’ homes. In preparation for the drop of days, Mentoring Specialists reach out to each family
to see if there are additional needs that the agency can provide.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio Shares Success for #GivingTuesdayNow
board games, groceries, trash bags, and more. This has allowed the organization to really support families with the needs they have and also check in to make sure Littles are safe and supported.



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