We believe every connection counts, and this is true now more than ever. Social Distancing further isolates the at-risk Littles who already face social and economic problems at home. Many of them are especially vulnerable in these times and handling mental health challenges as they navigate the anxiety and stresses present around them. So many are facing barriers that make them feel alone and are keeping them from learning in their new at-home settings.
To help our youth stay connected, we have decided to revisit a way of communicating that often gets overlooked and launched the Pen Pal Project!
Our initial reach into the community will send more than 120 packages to Bigs and Littles and we continue to see interested matches asking to get involved! This program will provide our Bigs and Littles with supplies to write three letters to each other and keep in touch, the old-fashioned way. As we recently had to suspend in-person match time, we are encouraging our mentors to maintain regular contact with their Littles. We feel incredibly proud of how our volunteers, who give over 50,000 hours of their time each year, are taking initiatives and re-imagining what a match looks like, while in isolation.
This Pen Pal Project will help matches, especially those without access to internet, stay in touch.
We care about the future of our youth and are prepared to help them deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in every way we can. As we learn to navigate our new realities, every team at Big Sisters is working on continuing our vision and mission. While our Study Buddy team is setting up new ways for Study Buddy tutors to support low-income youth with at home learning, to further their academic progress in English, math and other subjects, all caseworkers are increasing phone and video check-ins with youth and their families to ensure they are all receiving the individual support they need.
As we look towards what our “post-covid” future will look like, we know that the children we serve will experience a second drastic shift while settling back into schools, friendships and social connections.
Our Pen Pal Initiative is just a small step to help our youth adjust to their new realities and feel less alone. We are extremely grateful to our community who continue to believe in the work we do and the important power of mentoring!