One of my goals originally of my blog was to blog about organizations in Miami, as well as restaurants, sights, etc. One organization that I volunteer with is Big Brothers Big Sisters, which matches mentors and youth together (bigs and littles). My little brother is in the fifth grade and it’s a blast. He’s an awesome kid and we have a great time exploring Miami and hanging out!
There are two options in Big Brothers Big Sisters- the school-based or community-based programs. In the school-based program mentors work with their littles during the school day at school. I’m a part of the community-based program and I hang out with him outside of school about every two weeks. We then talk about every week, sometime more often, on the phone and he also knows he can call me whenever. What we do when we hangout really is limitless. In general bigs and littles can do anything that interests them. I’ll talk a bit more below about what I’ve done with my little.
I signed up to be a Big Brother first by submitting a volunteer inquiry form online. For Miami-Dade their website is- http://www.wementor.org/ and everyone else should just Google “Big Brothers Big Sisters” to find their local branch. After I submitted the online form Big Brothers Big Sisters gave me a call and I went in for an interview with a social worker- the relationship development specialist. During the interview they asked me a lot of questions about my work, daily life, and also preferences about my little (age/grade, if they are more outgoing or more reserved, etc). I also filled out an application for them to do a background and driving check. It took about an hour and was easy to do.
A week or two later the relationship development specialist called about a match with my little brother. We had an original meeting with the relationship development specialist, my little brother, and his mom at their house. We talked all together about some of my little brother’s goals, things he likes to do, and got to know each other a little bit. After that meeting the match support specialist, another social worker, takes over by checking in every so often with both myself and my little brother and helping us with anything we need.
My little brother and I have done all sorts of things on our bi-weekly hangouts. Since my little brother hasn’t been to a lot of places outside Liberty City we’ve spent a lot of time exploring different parts of Miami. We walked around and explored places like South Beach and Coconut Grove. We’ve gone to the Science Museum (blog post here) and the Fair (blog post here) and swam at Matheson Hammock Park (blog post here). We also have biked around Pinecrest and got to the Farmer’s Market (blog post here) and also gone on a tour of the University of Miami. Regardless of what we do I have a great time hanging out with my little brother. He’s an awesome kid that’s super perceptive, polite, funny and a great friend!
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an awesome program that’s a lot of fun and I’d highly recommend it to anyone that wants to make a difference, while having a great time. If you’re interested in being a mentor you should definitely sign up for Big Brothers Big Sisters. You need to be able to make at least a one year commitment to the program, although of course they hope that it goes for longer. I have loved my time in the program and always have a great time with my little brother!
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami-Dade- http://www.wementor.org/