Big Brother Ben Jackson was matched with his Little Brother Jesse in April 2019. He stopped by the blog today to share about his volunteer experience. If you would like to get involved with BBBSCI or want to learn more about becoming a Big, visit us at BeBigForKids.org/Volunteer or contact Eric Cervantes, Manager of Volunteer Outreach & Engagement, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: How did you hear about BBBS?
Answer: I always knew about Big Brothers Big Sisters because they have always been around. I started helping out at events like Big Socials, the Biggest Social, and a couple of fundraisers. (The City of Indianapolis) Mayor spoke at an event and he mentioned being involved himself, and I thought to myself, “if the mayor has time to be a Big, I have time to be a Big”.
Question: What has been the most surprising thing about becoming a Big?
Answer: How smooth and easy the whole process was. From signing up, to the interview to getting matched. Getting to know my Little and his family. A lot of credit must be given to staff for the thoroughness of the process.
Question: What growth have you seen in your Little?
Answer: He has gotten better at opening up and talking about his feelings. A lot of that is time and building trust, which has made it easier for him to talk.
Question: What are some of your favorite things to do with your Little?
Answer: We have had a lot of fun! I have taken him to a couple music places, including Back to Rock, which is an independent music school. He tried DJing, playing guitar, piano, and drums. He was able to go back and forth with the teacher and follow along. We have also been to Rhythm Discovery Center in downtown Indianapolis which was a lot of fun.
Question: Is he interested in music?
Answer: Yeah, he has always been into drums and drumming. He doesn’t have a drum kit at home but drums at church sometimes.
Question: What’s yours and your Little’s favorite thing to eat on match outings?
Tacos from Taco Bell. I have been attempting to take him to authentic Mexican places but he chooses Taco Bell over everything.
Question: What has been your favorite agency sponsored activity you have attended?
Answer: I have heard game nights are cool, and we need to make it to some of those.
Question: Have you taught your Little anything?
Answer: Patience. Plus we learn new things together, try new foods; and I introduce him to new cultures and points-of-view he has never seen. I want to present him with as many new cultural experiences as possible to help him become a more well-rounded person.
Question: Has he taught you anything?
Answer: He has taught me patience too. I don’t have any kids of my own so it has been a learning curve on being patient.
Question: What is the relationship between you and his parents like?
Answer: It is good. We have a lot of communication. They are flexible and it has been easy to schedule anything. We have the same goals and want what is best for him.
Question: What was your experience with the enrollment process
Answer: It was very good. I can tell they have been doing it for a long time. The approach around making sure the basic stuff like comfortability on behavior issues and figuring out my background helped with my matching. It helped set the match be as productive and successful as possible.
Question: Why do you think people should become Bigs?
Answer: It’s fun. You get to hang out with someone who is matched with you who wants to do this. I get to hang out at an arcade and have an impact on someone else. You’re in a position to be helpful and be the good guy. You are not a teacher or parent, but someone to enrich their lives. You are more like a friend and ally. It is rewarding to have a positive impact on someone’s life.
Question: How have you kept up virtually?
Answer: Luckily he got a phone before COVID-19 happened. So we have been able to Facetime and talk over the phone.
Question: What will be the first in-person activity you do together when it’s safe to do so?
Answer: Something outdoors where we aren’t around people. Maybe riding scooters, going fishing, outdoors for sure.
Question: Anything else?
Answer: I would stress how easy it is regarding: time, commitment, and money. There are free things on the app and suggestions to do.