After a couple of months of background checks, readings and trainings I should be meeting my little some time next week! For those that don’t know a little is its basically a mentee you get when you sign up for the Big Brother Big Sister organization. The mentor (myself in this case) is referred to as a big. Sometime last week I got a phone call from the Match Support Specialist (MSS). The MSS basically takes all the information from your interview and takes a child’s information from their interview to create a suitable match for both parties.
The MSS let me know my matches name was J (not his real time but this is how I’ll refer to him). J lives about 15 minutes away from me. I’m not going to go in to all of J’s business but he has been through quite a bit for his age. Even through all of that the MSS told me he is an all A/B student, he’s very sociable and he wants to grow up to be a basketball player. He is also involved in an empowerment group with his local community.
As of now I have a couple of ideas for our first few interactions. With that said I’m very excited and nervous to finally get to meet him. I don’t really know what to expect but I plan on being the best big I can be. I want to introduce him to some of my hobbies and I hope to explore his hobbies as well.
One reason I volunteered is that as Ive gotten older I’ve come to realize community is everything. The support you get from your neighbors and people in your local vicinity truly does build a village. A lot of people like to talk down on poor black communities but never go in them and try to make the conditions black youth live in everyday better. Growing up I used to help my Grandma clean out her elementary school. It was Birney Elementary School in Detroit, MI (it has now been shut down). The kids there literally had everything stripped away from them each year I went back to help my Grandma clean out her classroom.
First the Art classes were cut, then the music classes and finally gym classes were cut. Keep in mind children are going to school with bullet proof windows, outdated books, outdated technology, no extracurriculars and no playgrounds. For recess they would go out to a cement lot with no playground and run around with nothing but an imagination.
People wonder why there are issues in these kinds of communities but never bring up the inequality the people that live in them face. If the education system isn’t even on an equal playing field for everyone isn’t that something that should be addressed more. The media never addresses these types of issues and never will.
Since the government has shown that they aren’t trying to help I think the community has to save itself. The Big Brother Big Sister will be one of my first steps in trying to make Philly a better place. I hope to provide my little this insight and that he will one day be a mentor. If not through an organization at least through his actions.
Are you currently a mentor or planning to be one later in life? What are causes that are important to you that you want to contribute to (via donations, service, ect)? As always thanks for reading!