The following story was written by one of our Bigs, Alyssa. She was kind enough to let us re-post it from the Whatcom Volunteer Blog. She covers what it was like getting matched up with a little, and why she loves volunteering for BBBS-NW.
A big thanks to Alyssa for sharing her story with us!
Mentors Make a Difference
After interning in an 8th grade classroom for six months I decided teaching wasn’t for me. For one, I need to be liked! It’s hard to win approval from 30 students when you’re at the front of a classroom handing out lunch detentions. I had pretty much written off working with kids when I happened to meet Samantha DeSoer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Washington. She explained that their Littles (youth enrolled in the program) like their Big (the adult) just for who they are. A Big’s role is to just be there. Someone else gets to be the parent and teacher. The Big gets to listen and have fun. Well, that sounded like something I could do so I immediately signed up.
I didn’t get my match overnight as I had to go through an interview, background check and training. Then I waited for the right kid to come along. The process gave me enough time to daydream about all the great adventures my match and I would have, but I also started to worry- will she like me?
Now that I’m matched with a wonderful Little, I still wonder if she’s having a good time or if she thinks I’m cool. BBBS-NW says not to worry, just being present in her life is enough. Sure, going to the Star Wars exhibit at the Pacific Science Center is fun, but even just a phone call shows her I care.
I love volunteering for BBBS-NW because it’s a proactive way of raising engaged, responsible members of our community. Youth with mentors have better attendance in school, are less likely to use drugs/alcohol, and have more self-confidence. If you’ve read one of my other blogs, you know I value proactive causes (http://www.whatcomvolunteer.org/a-little-snippet-of-my-volunteer-time/). So for this reason (and many others) I am happy to be a Big through BBBS-NW.