Today on the blog, you will hear all about Bilingual Match Support Specialist and Big Sister, Joanna Robles. Joanna has been at BBBSCI just over a year. Through her role as a Match Support Specialist, she is able to assist Bigs, Littles, and families with the support they need in order to build lasting relationships. Whether she is suggesting community resources, activities, or ways to better interact with one another, she is always there to provide a high level of support. Being bilingual allows her to also provide support to Spanish speaking families on her caseload. Joanna took some time to answer some questions regarding her role at BBBSCI and also some fun facts that I’m sure we’re all dying to know.
Question: What is your favorite part about working at BBBSCI?
I think my favorite part about working for BBBSCI is the match introductions. The introduction is the first connection among the Bigs, Littles, and families. At these introductions, I see the Littles get really excited. I’ve seen some Littles wait outside the door waiting for their Big to show up. Seeing the happiness when they first meet and the excitement of all the things they want to do together. It is really nice to see that first connection and all the excitement it brings.
Question: Do you have a favorite memory or story you’d like to share with us?
A specific story that sticks out to me is a rematch story. Little Brother was struggling in school in regards to behavior, paying attention, and grades. His first match did not go as well as mom would have hoped, but she saw an immediate change after being matched with his new Big Brother. This new match has completely changed how he interacts at home and at school. Mom is very appreciative of this new match, and I can already see the connection forming.
Question: What words of wisdom do you give to Bigs just starting out?
Have patience. Bigs often feel their Little is quiet and they don’t reach out to them because they don’t like hanging out with them or they don’t like them at all. I’ve learned that is not the case. The Little is usually just quiet or shy and is adjusting to having an adult relationship in their life outside of their parents or family. Its new. I say don’t forget what its like to be their age – they are probably expecting the Big to reach out. They are trying to gain trust with you. Building a relationship takes time, and everyone involved has to be patient.
Question: Who has been a mentor to you?
Throughout my life, it has always been my educators. I always looked up to those individuals who were helping me to achieve the next great thing in life, whether it was getting to the next grade level or getting into college. I never would have gone to college without the mentors I had. Being a first generation college student, my family and I didn’t have the resources to know what it took to go to college. I heavily relied on my mentors to lead me there, and if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now.
Question: Will you give us a fun fact about yourself?
I love comics. I don’t think a lot of people know that about me, but I just love the comic world. My favorite – because I’m all about superheroes – would probably be Spiderman.
Question: What is your favorite part about living in Indianapolis – favorite thing to do?
My favorite place is the Monon Trail. Especially during the summer and once it gets warm. Walking around the trail is just very relaxing. There is also this cute tiny house on the trail that is actually an ice cream shop. You should try it!
Question: What do you enjoy doing for fun, when you’re not at work?
Reading comics, writing, playing video games, LOTS and LOTS of Netflix. Oh, and hanging out with my Little Sister, Stasia.
Question: What is your favorite vacation spot?
I really enjoyed Hilton Head. Generally, I just love exploring new places. I don’t really like to stick to one spot. I like to try new places.
About the Author: Nikki Jo McCrady is the Program Communications and Events Specialist at BBBSCI. She has been with the agency since June of 2017. Her favorite part of her job is seeing the connections that are made by Bigs and Littles at match activities. When she’s not at work you can find her spending time with friends and family, walking her dog, Lexi, watching Netflix, or taking a nap.