Big Brothers (Not necessarily a "RJ" topic)

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2009 5:01 PM GMT
    I'm interested if anyone has volunteered in their local Big Brothers organization. If anyone is willing to share their experiences, good or bad, please let me know.
    It seems that there are a lot of kids out there who could use positive male role models in their lives. I appraciate any input.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2009 7:23 PM GMT
    I was actually part of the Big Brother program when I was a little kid. It's a great program and if you're considering taking part, you definitely should. My father passed away from cancer when I was just 7 months old and my mom enrolled me in that program when I was about 8 or 9 maybe. My big bro and I just hung out and did the normal guy stuff - played ball, etc. He moved to New York for a period of time and I actually flew out there and stayed with him and his wife. We got a personal tour of the NYSE, which was pretty cool. He lives back in Seattle now and though I'm not back much, I see him every now and then. I think it's a wonderful program and would highly encourage you to serve as a role model (or anyone else who reads this thread).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2009 9:31 PM GMT
    Great stuff! Real nice to hear from someone who had a "Big" as young boy. I appreciate your input, guys.
  • a2507

    Posts: 152

    Aug 04, 2009 9:32 PM GMT
    I had a really horrible experience with Big Bros. here in Tulsa.
    I had references from my former pastor, elders in my church, other strikes against me other than being openly gay.

    I went thro' the fairly intrusive evaluation process only to be told that I would not be considered to be a big bro. because I had "unresolved issues with my ex...."
    To begin with, who doesn't? We were civil however. The answer had a suspicious smell to it.

    I challenged the executive director whom I knew slightly and finally he admitted that it wasn't me but rather that the local organization didn't want the possibility of bad press of having a gay big bro. There had been an incident of abuse some years prior.....and since then, just recently, a guy's been accused of abusing a kid he was big bro to.

    Since that time, the national organization has officially added sexual orientation to its non-discrim. policy. And if you live in a state where discrimination is illegal, it may be less of an issue.

    For me, it was a brutalizing and humiliating experience which has made me very wary of volunteering or supporting the organization. I went in, maybe kind of naive, but really hoping it could be an opportunity for me to help a kid in need and express my fathering/parenting instincts. While I have a number of nieces and nephews, they're all elsewhere in the US.

    I hope it's different now. It could be a really great thing.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2009 10:37 PM GMT
    I've been a Big Brother for four years, with two different Littles. I can tell you good things and bad things.

    On the upside, I think the program is very beneficial for many young boys without a male figure in their life. I've seen both of my Littles improve in their confidence, social skills, and manners. That really motivates you to stay with the program long term.

    On the down side, I've had significant and very trying behavioral issues with one of my Littles. But I've stuck with him and his behavior is mostly better lately.

    Another downside is that you really start to run out of ideas for what to do with your Little. And as much as BBBS emphasizes doing free things, there are only so many free things you can do and just as often you'll end up doing things that cost some money.

    The biggest dilemma you might face is how to exit the match if you need to (or just want to) It's difficult thinking about telling this kid who's grown attached to you and looks up to you that you will no longer be part of his life. I've heard many accounts of kids who were very hurt by their Big ending the relationship.

    It's a worthwhile experience, but you have to be committed to it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 04, 2009 10:45 PM GMT
    I was part of another organization that's like a court ordered big brother program. Judges who sit on Juvenlie cases and think a kid needs a little guidance or support from outside the system, can appoint a person to take the kid out, hang out with them, and just give a first hand account back to the court as to whether the system is working in this case and what can be done additionally, if anything.

    It's rewarding but, also frustrating and sometimes heart breaking, not to mention a LOT of work.

    I can fill you in on the program more, if you're interested. They have it in all 50 states and anywhere there's a Juvenile Court.

    Most of these kids are in really bad situations...and need all the help they can get.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 05, 2009 1:55 AM GMT
    I've been involved in the program with the same little for 4 years now. I love it. He loves it. More people should really get involved. It makes such a huge difference in the lives of young people. I was told when I started that my little had behavioral problems and ADHD. As many times that we've hung out together, I've never really had any problems. He listens to me perfectly and isn't different than any other child I've been around. He just needed some attention that he wasn't receiving at home I guess. A few months ago, he was struggling with multiplication tables at school. I took him out and bought him some flash cards and showed him some tricks that I remembered learning back in elementary school to remember them. He picked it up like nothing. Little things like this go a long way in making a difference for the rest of these kids' lives. I think it's a great program and highly suggest trying it out.
  • Halfstep

    Posts: 859

    Aug 05, 2009 2:03 PM GMT
    I had a friend who went into it and was very dissapointed because it seemed that the child and child's mother was convinced that she was going to buy them things.

    Finally the girl started skipping their dates and my friend eventually quit because she wanted to make a true difference in the child's life instead of buying her stuff.

    So I hear its a very rewarding experience, however remember that the selection process is just as important for you as it is the children and their families.

    As awful as it sounds, wouldn't wanna get a little that you hated.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 06, 2009 8:13 PM GMT
    I really do appreciate everyone's input regarding their experiences being someone's "Big". All of this information very helpful--thanks again, guys.