The waiting is the hardest part …

 

By ALAN K. STOUT
Community & Resource Development Coordinator
Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge

 

I’ve been working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge for about six months now, and in that time, I’ve learned a lot about the program. The people here are very dedicated. The community likes and appreciates what we do. And when we roll out a big event, such as the recent Bowl For Kids’ Sake – which helps fund our program – people respond to it. They support it, and they try to help.

And for that, we are most grateful.

Of course, we also have plenty of people willing to help out with the most important aspect of Big Brothers Big Sisters: the children. Through our program, there are currently more than 450 kids spending quality time with caring mentors each week. And we know that the quality of the lives of both the children and the volunteers have been improved because of the time that they spend together. In fact, just last month, we posted 20 short videos on our Facebook page of both Big Brothers and Big Sisters talking about how much they enjoy being a part of the program.

There is, however, another video that we post each month that we find to be inspiring, yet also troubling.

Each month, Rocky from the KRZ-FM morning show is kind enough to spend some time with one of our prospective “Littles.” And every month, they have a great time. One of our caseworkers, Melanie Maciejczak, also joins them, and in recent months, they’ve taken children to everything from a Monster Truck Show at the Mohegun Sun Arena, to places such as Rich’s Golf Center and Pikes Creek Park. They’ve played arcade games, driven go-carts, had ice cream and, simply put, have had some wonderful days.

Later during that week, Rocky has the child as a guest on the KRZ-FM morning show and they share some stories about the fun day they spent together.

All good, right?

Well, yes. And no.

You see, the children that Rocky takes out with him are, as I mentioned earlier, “prospective Littles.” Someone in their family has reached out to Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge and has told us that they’d like the child in the program. They need a Big Brother or Big Sister, and they have already gone through the enrollment process. But they are – unfortunately – on our waiting list. We don’t have a mentor for them, or someone to spend time with them for just a few hours per week. And so, after getting a little taste of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, they get in line with the 250 or so other children that are in the same situation.

Slideshows, such as the one seen here, are put on our Facebook page each month. If you take just a minute to watch it, I’m sure you’ll see why they make us smile, and perhaps you’ll also see why they make us sad. Rocky, who is a great friend of Big Brothers Big Sisters, feels the same. That’s why he does it: to show you how much fun and how valuable the program can be for a child, but also show you the need for more volunteers.

There are more than 650,000 people living in the five counties served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge. We only need about 250 more to meet the needs of our children and get that waiting list down to zero. Sounds pretty doable, right?

We think so, too.

So please, think about it. And if you’re so inclined, start something special. Help change someone’s life.

Become a Big Brother or Big Sister.