It’s been a little while since I updated all of you on being in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program. So far, so good!
- I submitted a volunteer application in mid-July 2013.
- Over the next 2-3 weeks, I sent in all of the requested paperwork, five of my friends and blogging buddies turned in their reference forms, and I took a 1-2 hour online class and quiz.
- In August 2013, I was interviewed and was officially approved.
- I was officially matched in very late September 2013.
- My Little Bro and I started hanging out weekly in October 2013.
Our Activities So Far
For the first 3 weeks or so, my Little Bro was super quiet. He smiled and would say a sentence here and there, but that was about it. All I knew for sure through most of October was that we both like food, and I was told to keep our time together relatively cheap.
After being matched for 3 months, he can come over to my place, so we can start cooking. Until then though, I’ve really made use of email signups at restaurants in our area so that he can eat cheap or free. It’s pretty easy since he’s 10 years old right now, which is young enough for 99% of children’s menus.
So eating dinner and doing something once a week has become our routine. We keep trying places and specific foods that he hasn’t had yet. No, nothing exotic, but his family doesn’t eat out a lot.
For food, we’ve had:
- Chili’s – He liked it a lot, but likes the buffets below better. Cost $6 for him.
- Hamburgers and Pomegranate shakes – It wasn’t amazing food, but it fit our plans that day and cost about $5 to feed him.
- Cici’s pizza buffet – He loved it and he ate for free thanks to their email signup special.
- Potato Patch (country cooking and they throw the yeast rolls at you to catch) – This was about $10 for him, so it’ll be reserved for special occasions.
- Hartz Chicken buffet – He really loved this place, and it only cost about $6 for him.
Even though he really likes the food part of the evening, he says he’s had fun at all of our activities too:
- Disc golf – free
- Attended a middle school football game – his ticket was $1
- Saw “Turbo” at the discount movie theater nearby – $1.50 per person
- Billiards twice since they were rainy days – cost $6-7 per day total
Overall, our cheapest day has been about $15 total. Our most expensive was around $32 thanks to Potato Patch having a very expensive kid’s menu. I was aiming to spend $20 or less every week, and we are on track there. Money-wise, this is a very affordable thing that we could make even cheaper if we have to. I just enjoy watching this kid eat at places he hasn’t been before. He really just has all of those great kid-like faces when he really likes something. It’s fun.
The Emotional Side
This has been eye-opening. My Little Bro started opening up a few weeks ago and it was awesome to see! It’s been about 6 weeks and his parents are giving me positive feedback. He apparently has started liking school more and wants to sign up for football. That’s the first official team sport he’s been interested in even though he loves sports. Cool beans!
On a different note, our different income classes don’t seem to matter very often. BUT, some things he says makes it obvious that he sees a different between his family and the “rich” people. I think he may see me differently if we hang out at my house too early. We might wait longer than the suggested 3 months. I don’t want him to get jealous or self-conscious with me. Or think of me as his own personal Santa Claus, which the program wants us to avoid no matter what.
Overall, my Little Bro is a sweet little dude who opens doors for anybody and he’s a gentleman. His stories also seem to highlight the fact that he really dislikes bullies and he does stick up for the dudes smaller than him. And his mom says he loves talking about me to his brothers and sister after our outings. I take all of that as very good signs that we can stay matched for the long run.
Have you ever participated in BBBS or something similar? What have been your experiences?