Thank you again for your ongoing support to ensure safety and connection during this past year. With the COVID-19 pandemic and related guidelines continuing to evolve, we have updated our recommendations for match meetings and activities.
Guidelines for Matches
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) is committed to keeping our Bigs, Littles, families, employees, and supporters healthy and safe. We will continue to abide by any direction set forth by the Marion County Public Health Department as our office and majority of our program participants reside in Marion County. We also consider guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local medical experts when setting our program guidelines. The following recommendations are effective August 1, 2021, until further notice.
Match Relationships: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and continuation of racial and ethnic disparities has affected our youth and community in a variety of areas; economic, education, health, and mental well-being. Yet, our energy and dedication to providing strong, consistent relationships for kids remains unchanged. Your mentoring relationship can be the difference in helping a youth grow despite the stress and challenges they may face. We all need to one another to build-up positive experiences; check-in, maintain connection, and create space for fun. Whatever decisions are made about time spent together, everyone in the match party should feel comfortable. Regardless of the Little’s age, time together should be approved by the Parent/Guardian ahead of time.
In-person match meetings: To provide the support needed to all of our Littles, we are asking all matches to see each other in-person, unless there are extenuating circumstances. We know the time together may look different and that is OK. If you need ideas of safe things to do, please talk to your Mentoring Relationship Specialist.
To facilitate matches spending time together, Bigs may transport their Little. If at any point someone does not feel well, the activity should be rescheduled or immediately ended. If you are having trouble finding in-person activities you are comfortable doing, please let your MRS know and they will help.
Virtual match meetings: If anyone in the match party is not comfortable with an in-person meeting, your decision to meet virtually is supported. If a match is unable to see each other in person, we ask that you schedule virtual contact ahead of time to help make it easier to connect and stay consistent. All match parties who are virtual are expected to have weekly communication (call, text, email, video chat, etc.) and participate in at least one online activity per month (individual or agency-hosted.)
Here are a few ideas of ways to connect virtually:
- Purchase duplicate Lego sets or jigsaw puzzles and send one to both you and your Little. Share your progress by sending photos via text message and see who can complete their project first!
- Schedule game time! Using app-based games like Words with Friends, Draw Something, Chess (click here for the web version), Checkers, or Bowling can be great ways to engage and connect with your Little, while enjoying some down time. Check out this website (and this one too!) for great games you and your Little can play on laptops or desktops.
However you choose to connect, consistency is important to your Little now more than ever. Find days, times, and methods that work best for both of you, create a plan, set a schedule, and stick to it! This will make it easier on you both, while giving you each something to look forward to and depend on.
Agency Activities and Support: We encourage you to make the best decisions for you and your family, stay informed, and continue to follow the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations for preventing the spread of illness. As always, we are here to provide support, help you navigate your match relationship during these unusual times, and offer activities and opportunities to help you keep connected.
- Group In-person Match Activities: BBBSCI is increasing the frequency of group in-person match activities. Continue to check the Big App for these opportunities.
- Group Virtual Match Activities: Limited virtual group activities will also be scheduled to help facilitate interactions with Bigs and Littles alongside other matches. Please check the Big App or ask your Mentoring Relationship Specialist for all offerings.
- Ongoing Support: It’s worthwhile to keep a few lessons learned at the forefront of our work with youth. To help guide the future of your mentoring relationship, check-out the Resources sections on our website for Bigs, Parents, and Diversity and Inclusion. Additional resources to consider: How Bigs Can Support Littles’ Ethnic/Racial Identities, Supporting a Friend’s Mental Health, and Additional Resources on Race, Equity, and Understanding. Your Mentoring Relationship Specialist is here to support you and we welcome opportunities to continue these conversations.
Masks:Based on updated guidance from the CDC, until further notice, we are asking all match parities to wear a mask when indoors, including in vehicles, regardless of vaccination status.
For matches where both parties are fully vaccinated, masks do not need to be worn outdoors where social distancing can be maintained. For matches where one person is not fully vaccinated, masks are recommended, even outdoors. Please review and abide by these CDC guidelines on How to Protect Yourself & Others.
Reporting: Should someone in either the Big’s or Little’s household test positive with COVID-19 after an in-person interaction, we ask that this information be reported to the other party and BBBSCI staff immediately. To ensure everyone’s safety, BBBSCI will share information with other parties if Big/Parent is unable to share in a timely manner. In-person visits should be paused until 14 days have passed or CDC guidelines can be met.
Vaccination Disclosure: The relationship between our Bigs, Littles, and Parents/Guardians are grounded in mutual respect, trust and care for each other. With this in mind, if requested by the Big or Parent/Guardian, disclosure of vaccination status is required to assist with activity planning, recognizing that CDC guidelines change for different activities based on vaccination status.
Vaccine Information: If you or your loved ones are considering the COVID-19 vaccine, we invite you to watch this video for additional information https://vimeo.com/520142193. Please visit the CDC website for more information on COVID-19 vaccines for children and teens. If you have additional questions, please let us know. We’d be happy to connect you to more information.
BBBSCI will continue to monitor the evolving recommendations and guidelines related to COVID-19. Please stay tuned for ongoing updates and let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you, as always, for your dedication and care for each other.