STAYING SOCIALLY CONNECTED
IN A TIME OF PHYSICAL DISTANCING
Being isolated these last few months has had a tremendous negative impact on our children and youth, from changes in mood, to difficulty sleeping, to increased sadness and loss.
While public health officials continue to urge Canadians to practice physical distancing, staying connected is imperative to maintaining mental health, wellness and motivation to succeed, especially for kids. Big Brothers Big Sisters Agencies in Ontario are responding with timely virtual interventions across all our mentoring programs. We are uniquely positioned to ensure mentors and BBBS caseworkers continue to connect with young people who need us – especially right now. We are one of the few youth-serving organizations that can continue to operate because our Mentees and Mentors can continue to connect and we can continue to fulfill program objectives, albeit in different ways.
Mentoring is a critical factor in the development of positive and healthy children and youth. Our staff and volunteers are dedicated to supporting children and youth to reach their potential each and every day.
BBBS IS ACTIVATING A 3 TIER RESPONSE
1. Build Social Connections at a Time of Physical Distancing
- Mentors will be empowered to connect virtually across a variety of available platforms to maintain the bond and connection with Mentees.
- Although Mentors and BBBST Caseworkers may not be able to meet in person with Mentees, they can continue to build valuable developmental relationships that support mental health, wellness and achievement motivation during these difficult times.
2. Protect Youth and Community Wellness
- BBBS Caseworkers will amplify support for Mentees, deepening our coaching and support for Mentees and Mentors to navigate this new virtual landscape.
- BBBS Caseworkers will provide Mentors with the tools and resources to continue to build their relationship with their Mentee virtually, while physically distancing.
- BBBS agencies will assist with wrap-around services for vulnerable families throughout Ontario, mobilizing resources or making referrals when assistance is requested during these stressful times.
3. Support Distance Learning and
- Achievement Motivation
- Mentors and BBBS Caseworkers will promote distance learning and school connectedness by exploring new online educational tools with Mentees.
- BBBST agencies and Mentors will strive to engage and create activities that provide cognitive stimulation and reinforce school habits, curiosity and future planning during school closures and uncertainty.
Mentoring is a critical intervention, protecting the mental health, wellbeing and future success of our youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters in Ontario are not stopping in the face of Covid-19, we are amplifying and continuing to ignite the potential of young people throughout the province.