How are Bigs staying connected with their Littles? Like this!
A Big shows up – at a socially appropriate distance, of course
Big Sister Julia, a reading teacher, has been meeting Little Sister Kamryn on Google Meet for an hour each day to help with her class work and just hang out. On May 7, Julia surprised Kamryn by showing up in person in Henderson County to do her schoolwork. Julia sat in a lawn chair on the lawn, and Kamryn sat on the porch.
“It was so fun!” Julia said. “We didn’t get close to each other, but we could see each other.”
A Big Brother’s online commentary explains how he is keeping connected with his Little
In this May 10 column at BlueRidgeNow online, Hendersonville Big Brother Joey Popp writes about how his communicating with his Little Brother nearly every day is helping his Little blossom during the pandemic. Thank you, Joey!
A Big stays connected by overcoming big obstacles
Cupcakes, virtual birthdays and a cooking challenge
A very special match in Burke County – a 70-year-old Big Brother and his 7-year-old Little Brother, have been writing letters to each other, Program Coordinator Nina Ervin said. The Little Brother isn’t connected to the Internet, which makes the letter writing all the more wonderful. The boy’s mother said he’s been drawing pictures of books he and his Big Brother have been reading together. “He’s just over the moon that he’s getting a letter every week,” Nina said.
One of Morgan Harris’s Bigs in Henderson County told her he was going to try to deliver cupcakes to his Little for his birthday and also take a cupcake to his Little’s friends so they could all Zoom in and have a virtual birthday.
One match that Jill Hartmann has in Buncombe County decided to try to find something they could cook together, while separate, from their pantries and for their families. Then they were going to watch a cooking show together!
Project MARS members staying connected
Project MARS members have a strong connection with each other, and they have missed seeing each other in service. Here, members Rachel Boyle and Emma Snope participate in a virtual training together. Members are staying busy with school projects, community service projects, and as seen here, trainings during the school closure. Look at those great smiles!
Asking a Little, what are you grateful for today?
Big Brother Joey in Henderson County has been emailing Andre, his Little, with these questions and more. Below are some of Andre’s answers.
What am I grateful for today?
Who am I checking in on or connecting with today?
What expectations of ‘normal’ am I letting go of today? – in other words, what are you not doing that you normally do on a daily basis?
How am I getting outside today? – in other words are you going outside to play, exercise?
How am I moving my body today?
What beauty am I either creating, cultivating or inviting in today?
Opening the mailbox and finding a handwritten letter – what a great way to keep in touch!
A Big Sister/Project MARS worker helps Mom with easy Easter ideas
Two Big Sisters help out an entire Cherokee family
A phone call from a Big lifts a Little’s heart
An online auction enables a former Big to help her former Little Sister’s family
Trying times like these are keeping even former Matches connected. Here’s a story about cutting boards, an auction, and how a former Big Sister helped her former Little Sister’s family, as told by the former Big Sister herself. (All the names have been deleted to respect their privacy.)
“I got in touch with (my former Little and her mother) once all this started to unfold. (Her mother) has been a cafeteria worker at (an Asheville elementary school) for years and years. She and (her daughter also) work together at an afterschool program each afternoon.
“I knew that with schools closed, they are out of work. I checked in with (my former Little Sister’s mother), and, as I suspected, she was/is really stressed about money. So here’s a sweet little story for you:
“One of our dear friends – and (my husband’s bike) riding buddy – posted on Facebook that, with all the time at home, he’d made some gorgeous cutting boards. He got all kinds of likes and comments on them on Facebook. Then he texted (my husband) and their buddies, saying maybe he could auction them on Facebook and raise money for someone who was hurting from loss of work.
“I told (my husband) that we know such a family – (my former Little’s) family. (My husband’s friend) didn’t know how to conduct an auction, so I did that part, on Facebook, on Sunday, March 22. I posted, with (the mother’s) permission, of course, a bit about the family’s situation and tried my best to express how helpful this would be for them.
“Would you believe that the first cutting board sold for $275, the second board raised $110 and the third board raised $200???? AND, my college roommate just sent me a $100 donation to help out (the) family.
“I was elated to send (the mother) a total of $685 the next day. She was crying, she said, and so surprised and grateful!
“Now that is a story that we can feel good about! It doesn’t solve all of their problems, but it does help. I’ve also given (the mother) a ton of links to resources for food, rent assistance, etc., as that info has come across my email at (work).”
BBBS staff share some stories about how everyone is staying connected
A Little Brother tells his Big how he’s doing his schoolwork
Big Brother Joey in Henderson County checks on his Little Brother Andre several times a week via video conferencing. Here’s an email Andre recently sent Joey telling Joey how he (Andre) is keeping up with his school work.
“The way we are able to do work from home is that we log in to our computers and we go to Google Classroom, and we go to our gmail to see what the teacher assigned us,” Andre wrote. “So our recent piece of work is March Madness. And what we did is we solve problems for four days. And the way we read is the teachers assigned us books to read and we will read them for at least 30 minutes. And then we would log it on our reading log. And the way we do science is we go to our science classroom, she will give us a link to our assignment, and we do what she assigned us. That is how we do our work from home.”
Email opens up a new world of communication for this Match
(This story is by Joey Popp, chair of the BBBS Henderson County Advisory Board.)
By now we would have had the garden prepped ready to go. Hey, doesn’t COVID-19 know it’s getting in the way of Andre planting his garden!
This day and time, one-to-one mentoring takes on a new look.
Since social distancing came into view, our Little/Big relationship consists of telephone calls, reminders to do homework, read and along the way talk about fun things.
I can’t wait to get to see him again. I brought back from South America a small gift of interesting looking candy. He loves candy.
At my last check, Andre was getting a new computer program set up at home so he can communicate with his teachers.
The reporter in me came out and immediately gave him an assignment. Realizing he now has email, I gave him a deadline to send me back a paragraph or two on what he’s learning.
“I don’t know your email address” he said. “Well, let me give it to you” I responded.
This 5th grader is moving right along during the medical crisis.
Making sure a Little is helping his grandmother
School video chat keeps a Match paired up!
A caregiver takes online classes with her granddaughter
Earlier this week, Buncombe County Match Support Coordinator Kelly Wolf spoke to a grandparent caregiver who is really taking advantage of the online opportunities available to supplement student education, many of which are now being offered for free.
She and her granddaughter Zari are taking an online yoga class, participate in a daily storytime and illustration activity via Instagram, check out what’s going on at the Cincinnati Zoo each afternoon, and take lots of virtual field trips.
She is getting ready to sign Zari up for a free online cooking class, as well. She said she is very grateful for the huge number of free activities available to keep kids occupied and engaged while they can’t be in school!
(Posted March 20, 2020)
Video chat lets a Big help a Little with classwork
After contacting Bigs to let them know in-person outings between Bigs and Littles will be suspended for two weeks, Buncombe County Match Support Coordinator Kelly Wolf immediately received a response from Big Brother Steve asking if it would be OK to reach out to his Little Brother Ky’ren via video chat so they can catch up and so Steve can offer Ky’ren assistance with his schoolwork.
Steve normally takes his Little to Homework Diner every week and wants to be sure Ky’ren feels supported academically during this time.
(Posted March 19, 2020)
Project MARS helps deliver food to school children in Cherokee County
Yay, AmeriCorps Project MARS! Cherokee County MARS members Jadrian Ledford, Betty Jean Jones and Lauren Allen (on the bus) and Taylor Swain (not photographed) recently assisted in the delivery of meals to students across the county while school is out of session.