What is BBSVC doing to support our community during COVID-19?
As more information comes to light about COVID-19 and as we adjust to new state, county, and local orders, I have never been more proud to be a part of the talented team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County, and a part of this supportive community. Over the next few months, our agency – like many nonprofit organizations – will rise up against these unique challenges and develop innovative solutions.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County is ensuring that our most vulnerable youth stay connected with their biggest advocates in this challenging time – their Bigs – while still respecting their health and the health of our wider community. We are achieving this goal by making changes to the way that Bigs and Littles interact, as well as reinforcing the model that makes our 1-to-1 mentoring programs so successful. As we respect the need for social distancing, we are also reminding ourselves that the negative effects of isolation can be mitigated by the positive impacts of mentoring.
Here’s what’s new:
BBSVC will be respecting the state directive through the following opportunities:
- The BBSVC team will continue to work remotely until physical distancing restrictions are lifted by the county and state, following which staff will work with office distancing practices in place.
- For the first time ever, Match Support Specialists have begun interviewing youth, families, and volunteers, and conducting training opportunities through videoconferencing platforms.
- BBSVC leadership will continue to evaluate the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis, and will continue to keep our network up to date on regular social media accounts – @bbsvc on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Staff will also continue to update this page in response to COVID-19 and any other community emergencies.
Here’s what’s staying the same:
Our Match Support Specialists will continue to serve as a hub for hundreds of youth, their families, and their mentors – providing resources for those who may be affected by loss of income, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainties related to COVID-19.
Now, perhaps more than ever, the mission and impact of BBSVC are evident and urgent. As we continue to navigate the challenges posed to our communities in the coming months, I want to reassure that our agency is guided by a purpose and plan.
For our Donors:
Know that your funds will be used responsibly as we continue to serve our program participants during this time of need.
If you have registered for an event, or plan to, know that we’ll prioritize your safety, and we will keep you up to speed on the latest developments as they impact our calendar.
For our Mentors, Littles, and Families:
Your Match Support Specialist is available. If you have any questions or needs, please let us know. We will provide resources for you, your Little, and their family as well as information to help the both of you stay connected during this time of physical distancing – please respect any restrictions that are in place, and contact your Match Support Specialist for guidance.
If you would like to meet up virtually; Here are some great activities – just make sure for the online opportunities that you both have sufficient access to these experiences at home…and, like any activity, parent approval:
- Book Club – pick a book and both read a chapter each week. Discuss in a weekly phone call!
- Take a virtual tour of a museum or a virtual tour of a national park.
- Unleash your inner scientists and give these experiments a try; follow up with each other to compare your results!
- Bigs – make sure you are posting on Ventura County Bigs Hangout to share some of your own ideas with other Bigs.
Some immediate online resources include:
- The Ventura County Emergency page includes a breakdown of the current state order
- The Ventura County Office of Education page has a list of schools providing meals for youth
- The U.S. Department of Labor webpage has a breakdown for how workers can prepare to respond to COVID-19 at work and when staying home
- BBC has some helpful digital posters on how to practice healthy behaviors to avoid getting sick
If you are in the process of becoming a mentor, we will discuss the possibility of doing a virtual First Match Meeting, so you can say hello to your future Little! We will also continue providing orientations and trainings, processing applications, and conducting background checks.
Thank you for believing in Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ventura County and for believing in the youth we serve. And thank you for standing beside us for the last fifty years, and for standing beside us today as we face the challenges ahead.
Chief Executive Officer