Pre-marriage, pre-kiddo, my then boyfriend (now husband), and I didn’t have much of a purpose other than our weekly job responsibilities and Sunday Fundays with our friends (ahhh I miss those days). I felt something was missing, that we needed more of a purpose and wanted to find something we could share together that would help fulfill that need.
At the time, one of our friends worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI), and he told us about the option to be a Big Couple. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to volunteer our time, make an impact, and hopefully get to see a positive outcome of the program. It is also worth mentioning that we both worked with at-risk youth around this time, and from that saw a lot of negative that was the byproduct of a child not having enough support in their lives.
The process started with a background check and an interview, which allowed BBBSCI to find the best match with a Little. It was a pretty painless process for me, and my introvert husband made it through just fine. We were then matched with our Little Brother in June 2013, who at the time was 10 years old. Here we are over 6 years later, still in the program and our not so Little Brother is now 17.
Get the tissues out folks, things are about to get real sappy! We have gotten to watch this little kid grow up and I am not sure we have ever told him this, but we definitely got the purpose and fulfillment we were looking for that continues to this day. Our Little, along with his family, have become part of our family. I will never forget the day we told our Little that we were going to have a baby, probably my favorite moment with him. At first, he was mad because we had waited a few months to tell him and that we told his mom first, but then he was so excited he was going to be an “Uncle.” I was worried that when we had Clark (our son), things would change, but if anything, it has been even better for our Big/Little relationship. Clark calls our Little Brother his friend, and it’s adorable. We do activities where we can take both of them to, and if there is something that our Little would like to do that isn’t toddler-friendly, then he and my husband get to have some quality time together.
We have encouraged several people to become Bigs, and the most common comment I get is, “we don’t have time.” Is it challenging to find the time? Absolutely, but we find ways to integrate our Little in our lives with something as simple as coming over to our house for dinner or taking a walk down Mass Ave to get ice cream.
The agency serves kids in Hamilton, Johnson, and Marion counties, and there are hundreds of kids on the waitlist looking for their Big. You have the option to be a Big Couple like we did or Big Brother, Big Sister, or even be a Big Friend with someone that you have known for at least 2 years. They only ask for a time commitment of 4-6 hours a month and provide you with lots of free/low-cost activities along with support to assist you through the relationship.
This experience has been great for our family, and I would encourage anyone reading this to give it some thought. January is National Mentoring Month, so what better time than now! You can visit BeBigForKids.org/Volunteer for more information and connect with the agency for additional questions.