DARKE COUNTY — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County is announcing it is on track to still have its Big Buddies program that starts mid-October every year.
Big Buddies is a program that has been extremely beneficial for our youth in the program. Big Buddies involves high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and senior volunteers who show up two times per month to mentor elementary students. During these meetings, high school students, under the supervision of Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, work with one or two children on different educational and recreational activities.
These activities consist of a curriculum that is set before the sessions start for the year. Curriculum for the 2020-20201 school year will utilize social emotional learning strategies to benefit all areas of our lives. Social emotional learning is defined as the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. This curriculum is set in hopes to teach our littles in the program all about each one of these aspects and the importance of practicing this in real life.
With all the uncertainties that have been going on this year, we are thankful to be able to continue our Bug Buddies program. With that being said, we will be taking safety protocols to keep all involved safe and healthy. Our Big Buddies staff plans to have a baggie of supplies for each individual student. The supplies with be cleaned before they are placed in the bags and cleaned after every session for safety measures. These baggies will have each student’s individual name on it, so they stay separate for each student. During the programs we will be sure to do our best to practice social distancing guidelines, wear face mask coverings and clean down all surfaces that will be used.
Along with planning the Big Buddies program in person, our staff is arranging a virtual option for Big Buddies. The virtual option gives us the ability to continue to serve those students who have chosen to do online learning with their school work as well. This virtual option will still consist of Big’s and Little’s logging on at a certain day and time to be able to communicate and do activities with our Social Emotional Learning curriculum.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County, a United Way supported agency, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help children reach their full potential, which we do by matching children with volunteers to develop and nurture quality relationships. During this time, we are not doing recruitment but will take any contact information from individuals who would like to join the program in the future. Once things open back up to a more normal routine, we will reach out to these individuals to begin the process, but due to safety protocols we are keeping our groups smaller in nature to begin with. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer may call the office at 937-492-7611, 937-547-9622 or log on to the agency website at www.bigbrobigsis-shelbydarke.org