MUSCATINE, Iowa–For Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County, finding new adult volunteers to serve as bigs to match with incoming littles represents one of the most important tasks of the year. This spring, the need for bigs has grown even more pressing, as a total of 30 children have applied for a match and have waited more than a year to get one. With more kids in the process of enrolling, Big Brothers Big Sisters knew they needed as many willing and qualified volunteers as they could get.
To help spread the word about Big Brothers Big Sisters and the need for bigs, the organization hosted a Match Madness campaign this spring. Using a fun March Madness basketball theme, Big Brothers Big Sisters shared information about their program and who could apply to volunteer as a big through social media and other outlets. The campaign especially sought male volunteers, as many boys remain among the unmatched littles.
So far, Big Brothers Big Sisters has had four new volunteers inquire or begin the enrollment process. With the push to enroll more bigs not usually beginning until later in the year, Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Lindsey Phillips considers this a good start. “This is great–usually we don’t start recruitment until summer,” she elaborated.
Though Big Brothers Big Sisters does not have an official recruiting event going on right now, they welcome anyone who would like to volunteer as a big to begin the application process. Currently, Big Brothers Big Sisters accepts adults ages 18 and up with a drivers license to apply for the program. All applicants will then fill out a form similar to a job application that collects basic personal information, character references, and consent for a background check, as well as information about personal experiences and interests to help find the most compatible little match. Those accepted into the program will then complete an orientation session before Big Brothers Big Sisters introduces them to their potential little match.
After making a match, bigs commit to meeting with their little for either an hour each week or four hours each month. For those looking for a slightly different experience, Big Brothers Big Sisters also offers couples matches where a married couple of bigs shares a single little.
Whatever your age or interests, Phillips encourages you to consider volunteering as a big. “Volunteering and being needed is good for you!” she emphasized. “It really does make a difference, both for you and your little.” Anyone interested in learning more about volunteering as a big may visit the Big Brother Big Sisters’ page of the Muscatine Community Y’s website or by calling 563-263-9996 and asking for Phillips.
For those looking to support Big Brothers Big Sisters financially, Phillips hopes to have opportunities to host both Hoops for Kids Sake and Over the Edge again this summer and fall respectively, along with other new events, so long as they can take place safely while still keeping the latest guidance for COVID-19 safety in mind.