PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters connects mentors to local youth to support the next generation.
Currently, there are around 300 active Big-Little matches in the area that normally spend time together a few times each months. Like many groups and programs, Big Brothers Big Sisters is having to change their approach.
Bigs and Littles are using technology and texting, calling, and video chatting to stay in touch.
Usually, when matches hang out in person, they do all types of activities like playing sports and eating together.
“With in-person services at the core of our mission, we’ve definitely had to pivot our approach and adapt to the current challenges,” said Sydney Daniels, Director of Development for Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Now, matches are doing arts and crafts, starting book clubs, and spending time together through phone and computer screens.
For the kids, who leaders say are some of the most isolated right now, the quality time makes a huge difference.
“Our kids are really appreciating it whenever our Bigs are able to reach out to them and spend some time with them. I connect with my Little about once a week,” said Daniels.
There are more than 90 kids still on the program waitlist. For people interested in becoming a Big, Heart of Illinois Big Brothers Big Sisters is continuing to connect matches and conduct interviews virtually.