CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON OUR MISSION
We are taking immediate action to maintain and support the vital, life-changing mentoring relationships we facilitate and professionally support in order to fight social isolation of our young people and families. In response to the pandemic, we canceled our annual BIG Event fundraising gala. As such, we are taking measures to minimize expenses while needing to increase our services to families and kids.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging, but it has provided us with an opportunity to be innovative, nimble, and more deeply communicative with our Bigs and Littles.
We've modified our program and protocols to allow for communication and engagement through platforms such as FaceTime and Zoom. The Match Resources page was created to provide online educational resources for families who have school-aged kids at home.
Our Bigs sent us a flood of cards that we've delivered to the Littles at their homes.
We collaborated with Imagination Station and created a School Supply & Learning Activity package full of fun educational games and activities to help keep our Littles learning and having fun in the process.
This was made possible thanks to a generous $1250 grant by the Whitefish Community Foundation.
Every Friday night we partner with pizzerias in Flathead County and Missoula to have dinner delivered to two families as a random act of kindness.
"Thank you for the pizza! It's amazing and such a blessing! I don't think EverLee [their youngest] has ever eaten so much 'Zizza' at one time! We will be getting online and giving [Angela's Pizza] a rave review. That was by far the best gluten free pizza we have had!"
All of this has brought staff closer (well, at a distance) as a team and built a stronger connection with our Bigs, Littles, families, and the community as a whole.
We collaborated our efforts with Montana Coffee Traders to show our appreciation to the hard-working Flathead County educators. In total, we distributed 100 pounds of coffee to schools in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and the Evergreen School District.
You can see by the smiles that the caffeine was welcome by all! We will continue looking for ways to pull our community together and show our appreciation. Thank you to everyone who is doing the same. We are all in this together.
WHAT DOES MENTORING LOOK LIKE NOW?
Everyone is feeling the stress and strain of uncertainty. We encourage Bigs & Littles to create new routines that don't include in-person activities but do include shared experiences and opportunities to process the world with a trusted adult. A few examples of how Bigs & Littles can stay connected:
MENTORING AT A DISTANCE
We are working quickly to modify our standards and practices so that our Littles can continue to benefit from the warmth and care of their Bigs while ensuring that Bigs, Littles, families, and our BBBS staff minimize the risk of COVID-19 contraction.
WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL-BASED MATCHES?
We are considering several options. We will be reaching out to School-Based Bigs to ask for your interest in connecting with your Little. We may temporarily expand our School-Based program to include remote engagement as described above. We will also reach out to Parents/guardians of Schools-Based Littles. In the meantime, we encourage Bigs & Littles to make cards, write letters or paint a picture that can be shared with the other. We will find a way to facilitate this exchange.
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
Feel free to email any of us with questions, ideas, or concerns. In the week of March 22nd, we will be reaching out to all Bigs & Littles (families) to check-in. Families of Littles, in particular, we want to know if there are any needs you have in the home. We cannot promise solutions, but we do want to know if there is a common thread of need that we could potentially address with the aid of local organizations.
WHAT IS HAPPENING AT BBBS NW MONTANA?
In addition to working on all that is described above, we are working (mostly remotely) on enrolling Bigs and Littles (so keep those referrals coming), we are finding ways to help in our community (see the blurb on coffee for educators), and we are continuing to build our program as we know our community needs us now, and when we transition out of this difficult time.
DO YOU HAVE ONLINE RESOURCES FOR MATCHES?
Yes! And we are working diligently on expanding these resources. Please go to the Match Resources page. Bigs and parents/guardians of Littles may find these resources beneficial and helpful throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. All logos shown are clickable links. Check back regularly for updates.