The Big Brothers Big Sisters program of Western North Carolina has faced its share of ups and downs these last few months, not only for the BBBS community, but the Plateau community as a whole, said Danielle Hernandez, BBBS Program Coordinator.
“While we knew we lived in an amazing, and generous, community here on the mountain, it is through this pandemic that we have found just how awesome the Cashiers and Highlands residents are,” said Hernandez. “With a heart full of love and gratitude, we say THANK YOU for your support!”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC in Cashiers and Highlands has been working alongside community partners to support family needs throughout the Plateau.
Recently, members of the Cashiers Advisory Council and Hernandez teamed up with Mica’s Restaurant to help package meals being delivered to the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau in addition to meals that were delivered to individual participant homes for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
“Our hats are off to the Boys and Girls Club for heading the incredible community initiative to ensure hot meals are available for families throughout the week,” said Hernandez. “Because of the generosity of Mica’s Restaurant owner, Dale McElroy, Big Brothers Big Sisters was able to deliver 73 meals over the course of three weeks to participants of the Cashiers chapter.”
BBBS’ regional office has recognized the ongoing need of families in WNC and is establishing methods of support.
BBBS is continuing to reach out to families to ensure their needs are being met and to offer a small sense of relief in multiple ways; including food deliveries, $100 Ingles gift cards for supplies, mental health check-ins (is everyone doing ok emotionally and have healthy coping mechanisms in place), determining any additional financial needs families may need assistance with, and most importantly, to offer a shoulder and friendly face whenever possible.
Program Bigs are also stepping up in this difficult time for their Littles and are using technology to keep in touch.
Hernandez said a Big Sister in Highlands recently shared that she has had many conversations with her Little Sister over FaceTime and interactions like this help both Big and Little form a stronger bond as they are able to see a more intimate side of their home lives through interactions with pets and other family members.
Other Bigs are exploring old fashioned letter writing, story building, taking walks together via FaceTime, watching movies and reading books at the same time and having conversations about their impressions afterwards, and even traveling the world together through online virtual tours.
“It is through the generosity of donors that the needs of Littles, Families, and Bigs are being addressed,” said Hernandez. “The local chapters of BBBS here on the Plateau would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all contributors!
She added that the kindness of the community allows BBBS to successfully act on their mission – “Transforming children’s lives through mentoring and supportive services” while stepping outside the box during challenging times for all.
“As are many others, we are greatly looking forward to moving back into normal program operations, allowing for face-to-face outings and contacts between program participants again,” said Hernandez. “BBBS currently has children and mentors waiting to be matched and we are seeking to grow the program further, serving the needs of more families and children on the mountain.”
Hernandez added to become more involved within the community and to advocate for children and families, to be that person who encourages children to reach their full potential and to help them find their hidden strengths, to be a positive role model and mentor, please contact Hernandez at 828.399.9133 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit BBBS’ website HERE for more information.