A message from our Executive Director, Roslyn Henderson:
The current COVID-19 pandemic has shifted our world and we are not alone when we say that this is a very uncertain time for our local and global communities. Although it is hard to predict what the coming weeks will hold, we want you to know that our mission remains the same. Our agency is here, and is committed to supporting life-changing mentoring relationships for young people facing adversity. Social isolation is an adversity that we are all facing at the moment, but it will be especially challenging for the vulnerable young people and families that we serve.
So to our families, our volunteers, our partners, and our community – we want you to know that we are here for you and we will come out of this #BiggerTogether.
January 2021 Update
With news yesterday that the current Public Health Order, which includes restrictions on social interactions with those outside of your core bubble or household, has been extended until February 5, 2021, we wanted to reach out to our Big Brothers Big Sisters community to inform you of our recommendations for match meetings while this health order is in effect.
As of November 20, we had been recommending that all matches refrain from meeting in person. However, we also recognize that many matches are expressing interest in resuming modified in person meetings. Even with the restrictions on social interactions, there have been certain activities that are permitted under this Health Order; therefore, we will be allowing limited in person match visits, for those matches that are interested.
We recommend that match meetings take place in outdoor spaces where appropriate physical distancing can be maintained (keeping at least two meters away from other people) and where there is adequate ventilation.
Until this most recent health order is lifted, the following measures will be continue to be in place:
- No match visits to occur in your household
- No match visits to occur in busy spaces, such as malls and restaurants.
- Matches are not to travel outside of the Fraser Valley health region
- It is recommended that you do not travel in the same car together. If possible, please arrange to meet at the match location.
- Non-medical masks should be used anytime you are in close quarters or appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Our decisions as an agency will continue to adhere to the guidance and recommendations of our municipal, provincial, and federal Health Authorities. We recommend that you stay informed regarding these guidelines as they will help you make smart choices and take proper precautions to protect your health and minimize the spread of COVID-19.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the agency or your mentoring coordinator. Take care everyone.
Resources for Bigs and Guardians
Virtual Activities for Matches
Resources for Littles
Talking about Covid-19:
Continue to learn with these interactive websites!
Historical Documentaries (For Older Littles)
Mentoring Resources & Tips
Be mindful. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, it may trigger trauma for young people impacted by the virus or by the news surrounding the pandemic. Let your mentee know that you see them and are there for them.
Be intentional about preserving continuity in the relationship.
- Acknowledge what is going on and engage in a dialogue about the pandemic.
- Understand and honour your emotions and the emotions of your mentee, including the range of reactions that may be expressed.
- Commit to self-care. Know that it is okay to take a break from the news and discussions about the virus as needed to manage anxiety or other responses to the situation.
Be in it together. Let your mentee know that you are in this together and are here to help.
- Follow the latest on COVID-19 on the BC’s Centre for Disease Control website.
- Follow the guidelines of your mentoring program and your mentee’s guardian around how to connect and communicate virtually with your mentee. Decide on clear boundaries and agreements about how you will connect with your mentee when meeting in-person.
Be communicative. Healthy and supportive relationships are crucial during this time.
- If you are able to communicate virtually with your mentee:
▪ Let your mentee know you need to temporarily pause seeing them in person but are still there for them virtually. Create a plan with your mentee about how you will stay in touch while continuing to follow the appropriate guidelines.
- If you are not permitted/able to communicate virtually:
▪ Work with your Mentoring Coordinator to figure out a way to pass along information to let your mentee know that you care, value the relationship, and will need to temporarily pause in-person meetings. Health and safety are the primary focuses at this time.
This is obviously a very difficult time for all, but despite these immediate challenges, we want to reassure you that we are here to support you and commit to providing you continued updates and guidance as things continue to unfold. Our team is thinking of you all!