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12.11.17
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Match Story: Big Kaitlin & Little Daisy

Big Sister, Kaitlin has been matched with Little Sister, Daisy for nearly six years. In this time, they have done a lot together! Walking the dog, swimming, riding bikes, playing games and rock climbing are just a few of the activities on Daisy’s list of favorites.

Recently, Daisy has been teaching Kaitlin to play video games, though, according to Daisy, “It might be a while before Kaitlin is any good at it.” Kaitlin says that one thing she has learned from Daisy is that “you don’t have to be biological sisters to be sisters.

There are so many other sister matches through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah programs that are just as close. By matching Bigs and Littles through similar interests, backgrounds, abilities, etc. our matches almost always end up as life long friends!

Match Story: Big Amanda & Little Melissa

Melissa and Amanda have been match for more than five years. They have had so many different experiences together. Their favorite is taking cooking classes. Both of them love to cook. They also like taking walks in the park and going to see movies. Melissa and Amanda have said they have gotten along great from the beginning and became great friends in the last five years.

Melissa said “Amanda was a big inspiration for me. Amanda helped me set goals and accomplish them over the years.” Melissa worked very hard to do well in high school and is now off to attend college. Both Melissa and Amanda continue to meet and communicate often.  

Match Story: Big Stacia and Little Jenna

 

Big Sister, Stacia and Little Sister, Jenna have been matched in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah program since September 2013. They love doing all kinds of activities together and love to have new experiences! They usually can be seen going to plays, musicals, and their favorite restaurants.

Over the last four years they have developed a strong and loyal friendship. Stacia has said that she loves her Little Sister and is thankful she has had this opportunity to be a mentor. Jenna is growing up and likes to spend a lot of time with friends but she continues to meet with Stacia about twice a month. Jenna feels like she can talk to Stacia about anything and do all types of fun activities she would normally not have the opportunity to do. Jenna feels so grateful to have such an amazing Big Sister! 

Conversations with Your Little

Written by Heidi Kulicke

Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to know what to talk to your Little about – especially if your Little doesn’t talk much. As a Big, you have the opportunity to make a lasting impact in the life of a child. As you and your Little grow more comfortable with each other, you can start to ask your Little deeper questions that go beyond “How is school going?” and avoid the generic responses you’re likely to receive. Below are some ideas to get the conversation moving.

  • Friendship, Cooperation, and Teamwork

It’s important for kids to develop people skills while they’re young. As a big, you can help move the conversation in this direction by asking questions like, “How can you be a good friend” or “What do you do if you and your friend don’t agree?” This is an opportunity to teach your Little about what a compromise is and why it’s important. Other questions could be, “How do you help a friend who is sad?” You can let your Little know that when a friend is sad they should listen, acknowledge their feelings, and ask how they can help. Or you could ask “Are your classmates nice to each other and are you nice to them?” Being aware of others who are kind or mean will help your Little to choose good friends and better navigate friendships.

  • Feelings and Emotions

It can be difficult for children to understand their emotions and put a label on what they are feeling exactly. By learning how to do this, however, children are better equipped to handle the ups and downs of life. To help your Little understand what he or she is feeling, you can ask questions like, “What do you do when you are mad or sad, and are you ever mean when you’re unhappy?” This gives you the opportunity to suggest positive ways to deal with sadness or anger (reading, music, talking to friends, working out, etc.) Another question you could ask is, “How do you calm down if you are nervous, and what do you get nervous about?” Talk to your Little about different ways to relax and calm down, and what you do when you’re feeling stressed or nervous about something. Anger is a big issue for many children, especially if their home life is less than ideal. You could ask your Little, “What makes you angry and what do you do when you are angry?” Explain to your Little that when they are mad the first thing they should do is stop and think before acting on an impulse. This way they are less likely to regret something later.

  • Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

Learning to adapt to their growing and changing bodies is a challenge for many children. Those who are competitive or compare themselves to their peers often have an especially difficult time. As a Big, you have the opportunity to help your Little feel good about him or herself by recognizing their own strengths. You can ask questions like, “What are you most confident about?” Discuss with your Little the importance of confidence, and build up their confidence by giving them a few compliments. Or you could ask, “What do your friends like about you?” Help your Little understand how others might perceive them, and tell each other what you like about each other. You could also ask, “How would you describe yourself in 5 words?” The way your Little responds to this question is telling. If they don’t say anything positive, help them to recognize their strengths and talents. Tell them they are special and unique and add great value to the world simply by being alive.

It’s important for your Little to know you care about them and wish for their happiness and success, and by asking your Little deeper questions, you have the opportunity to grow closer together. Never underestimate the positive impact you can have on your Little simply by asking meaningful questions and showing you care.

Top 5 Reasons You Should Give A Sh!rt

 

If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a pile of clothing and household items clogging your closets or garage. What if we told you all your clutter could actually make a world of difference for your community?

It absolutely can.

When you donate your unwanted clothing and household items, you do more good for your community than you may even realize. Let’s count down the reasons.

  1. You help us! – Your donations help our cause through the partnership we have with Savers® thrift stores. By donating your unwanted items to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, you help us with much needed support in serving our shared community.
  2. You help save valuable natural resources – For example, it takes up to 700 gallons of water to make a single new cotton T-shirt. By donating, you help offset the billions of gallons of water and other natural resources used in the production of clothing worldwide.
  3. You help keep items from landfills – The clothing industry is one of the world’s largest polluters, with the average North American throwing 81 pounds of clothing into landfills each year, 95 percent of which could be reused or recycled.
  4. You help reduce stress – Decluttering has been proven to have an immediate benefit to your disposition. Lightening up your closets will help lighten your mood.
  5. You help make somebody’s day – Whether it’s someone hunting for a forgotten thrifting treasure, materials for a DIY project, or an affordable wardrobe, your neighbors will benefit from your donations.

This is only the start. Your donations help your community—all you need to do is unload your stash. You’ll feel better that you did. Donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah today by finding one of our donations centers, dropping your items off at a bin, or scheduling a FREE pick-up!

Click Here to Donate

Make your own Solar Eclipse Viewers!

On August 21, North America will be able to view the full solar eclipse in its totality. This eclipse will be occurring from coast to coast, across the continental U.S. It is the first eclipse to do this since 1918 – almost 100 years! This is the perfect opportunity to get out with your family, friends, and Littles to view this natural phenomenon – and learn how to do it safely.

“A total solar eclipse occurs when the disk of the moon appears to completely cover the disk of the sun in the sky. The fact that total solar eclipses occur at all is a quirk of cosmic geometry. The moon orbits an average of 239,000 miles (385,000 kilometers) from Earth — just the right distance to seem the same size in the sky as the much-larger sun. However, these heavenly bodies line up only about once every 18 months… During a total solar eclipse, the disk of the moon blocks out the last sliver of light from the sun, and the sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, becomes visible. The corona is far from an indistinct haze; skywatchers report seeing great jets and ribbons of light, twisting and curling out into the sky… During totality, the area inside the moon’s shadow is cloaked in twilight — a very strange feeling to experience in the middle of the day. Just before and just after totality, observers can see this cloak of darkness moving toward them across the landscape, and then moving away.” (Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely))

It is important to never look directly at the sun without the right viewing protection, except during totality. There are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen.

 

Click here for some easy, DIY ways you can safely view the eclipse!

Sources:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Eclipse-Projects-Easy-and-Advanced/
https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-who-what-where-when-and-how
https://www.space.com/33797-total-solar-eclipse-2017-guide.html

 

Qualities of a Good Mentor

 

Do you know if you’d be a good mentor? Do you know what a mentor is? Do you know how a mentor can make a difference?

 

Being a good mentor is hard work, whether you are mentoring a new hire at your company, a nephew, or you’re volunteering as a Big Brother. There are many men in our communities that want to make a difference and be a part of something great, but they may not know where to start or think they don’t have the time. Being a good mentor actually takes less time than you would think. For example, volunteering as a “Big” for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah is a commitment of only 6 – 12 hours a month! A bike ride around their neighborhood, a one-on-one game of basketball, helping them with their homework is all it takes to change a “Little’s” life for the better.

Research has shown that young boys and men that have the support and attention of a mentor for at least 12 months, show improvement in their belief of educational success, avoid engaging risky behaviors, and have better relationships overall with their parents, families, and friends (BBBSU National Survey, MENTOR 2014 Report).

Volunteers come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Ask yourself – are you doing as much as you can to improve the future of your communities? Do you have what it takes to change someone’s life for the better? Step up, and be the light in a child’s world.

Big Brothers Big sisters of Utah has kicked off the summer of ’17 with a 2-month recruiting campaign, Real Men Mentor – 60 Men 60 Days, June 1 – Aug. 1. BBBSU is calling on caring and dependable men in Utah to step up and volunteer to mentor a Little Brother. On average, BBBSU has 250 boys waiting for a Big Brother of their own. The goal is to work towards filling that gap so no child has to wait more than a year to be matched with a “Big”. Volunteer today!

Congrats, Graduates!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself 
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss

Thousands of seniors across Utah are graduating from high school this month. Among those students, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah have 30 Littles in our programs that are graduating as well. We would like to send a special congratulations to them and let them know how proud they should be of their big accomplishment.

Everyone knows that high school is hard. Between maintaining friendships, dating, and extracurricular activities, making your education a priority can be difficult. We hope that the encouragement and support from their Bigs has helped make life a little easier and a lot more fun.

In celebration of our graduating Littles and their Bigs, we held our annual Spring Fling event at the Falls Event Center in Salt Lake City. With the catering provided by Rodizio Grill and Starbucks and the desserts provided by Fresh Market and City Cakes, we were able to spotlight our graduates and present them with certificates and best wishes.

If you know a high school graduate, be sure to congratulate them on this important and significant milestone and give them the best advice on life that you can offer!

Check out our graduate slideshow below!

Student to Student: My Experience As A “Big Sister” by Jessica Curley

About a month ago, I started volunteering at a local elementary school with a grouped called Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program in communities across the country that helps children who experience adversity realize their potential by being matched with volunteers to create a supported one-on-one relationship.

The first time I heard about the program that works with kids ages 6 to 18 was when I was searching online for volunteer opportunities.

Being a part of the National Honor Society at Park City High School, I must complete hours of volunteer work for our community.

I get along with kids and enjoy teaching, so I decided to interview for Big Brothers Big Sisters. As soon as I matched with my “little,” or mentee, I couldn’t wait to start.

My experience as a mentor has been nothing but fun so far. My 8-year-old “little sister” is full of enthusiasm and spirit, and I couldn’t be happier to be her “big sister.”

Growing up, I always wished for a little sister because I wanted to be someone who was considered a role model. That feeling of someone looking up to you and knowing that you’re making a difference in that person’s life was what I wanted to experience.

That opportunity remained a dream until I started volunteering. I didn’t know it would happen when I started, but after a few weeks, the relationship I developed with my mentee is very strong, like a sister bond. She looks up to me like I’m her actual big sister. The fact that I’m changing her life for the better is the best feeling.

The program takes place one hour each week at the elementary schools those enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters attend. During that hour, mentors help the kids with their homework, and then spend the remaining time playing games.

I feel over the course of five weeks I already have a relationship with the little girl I see once a week. I can see a lot of personality shining through her, and I think that’s the reason we get along so well.

I know this program is designed to help and inspire children in need, but I can honestly say I’ve been inspired as well. My companion is constantly teaching me new things, and I cherish every moment we spend together. Also, I enjoy seeing how she has progressed over the weeks when it comes to school work, which makes me feel I’m helping her succeed one problem at a time.

Lacey Cole-Rae, the group’s manager for Summit and Wasatch Counties, said mentoring benefits children.

“Kids with mentors have better attitudes toward school and education,” she said. “They are less likely to engage in risky behavior, and they have better relationships with their peers and families.”

This organization is very inspiring to everyone that is part of it. The relationship between the big sisters and little sisters is very special and unique with each pair.

I want all the littles out there, especially my own, to know they can achieve anything they put their mind to.

I hope that more people join this program because the impact it has is tremendous. People don’t realize the benefit a caring and consistent mentor can have in a child’s life. Also, the mentor is rewarded with the feeling of satisfaction, knowing they’ve changed a child’s life for the better.

Click here to view the article on The Park Record’s website!