Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Story #3!

This week's story is from Dana! Read on to discover what her job with Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about, and for some delightful quotes from some of the Littles she has worked with. 

Match Support Specialist—hmmmm—initially, a rather cryptic and ponderous title for me. Then I started meeting currently matched Bigs and Littles in the School Buddy Program—seeing their smiles as they told me about one another. I started interviewing prospective Bigs and Littles—sensing their desire to make a real difference in the life of a child. I started matching Bigs and Littles myself—perceiving the nervous excitement and self-conscious hopefulness that comes with beginning a friendship.  I started asking questions, listening, observing, absorbing, and learning.

And recently, I’ve been experimenting with how to do this label. That’s the tricky part, right? I know that I want to help Bigs and Littles foster meaningful relationships—connections that transform perceptions and transcend differences. What an amazing, dynamic thing to hope and strive for at work! But what does this sound like in words? What does it look like in actions? This brings me back to “hmmmm.”

So basically and practically-speaking the main mechanism of Match Support, happens as a face-to-face check-in with the Little and a phone conversation with the Big every other month. I ask questions to see how things are going and to bring any issues to the surface that might need some attention. This past month I did my first round of match support with all 49 of my current matches.

The resulting 98 conversations definitely provided me with a lot of initial insight into what Big Brothers Big Sisters is really about, the strengths and challenges of the School Buddies Program and a better idea of how I want to fill this role in a thoughtful, effective way that I can really be proud of.

For now, here are some sweet quotes from Littles this time around.  Sentiments like these encourage me to keep constructing a version of Match Support that can genuinely promote those meaningful connections and support them though the inevitable ups and downs.

Little Quotes from My First Round of Match Support

·       I’m always so happy to see her!
·       He talks to me like a regular person, not like a kid.
·       She makes me feel wonderful!
·       She cares for me and watches out for me—she’s just my best friend.
·       When I’m feeling down and tell her about a bad day, she makes me feel better.
·       She’s really nice and never makes me do stuff I don’t want to do.
·       We have so many things in common!
·       She’s knows how to play around and have fun—she’s like a big kid!
·       She shows me respect with her kind words.
·       Nothing stops him from coming!

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