August 21, 2021

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Big Brothers Big Sisters moves ‘School Friends’ program online | Local Education

1 min read

[Boys and Girls Clubs hope to highlight youth voices through COVID-19 PSA competition]

Madison is simply happy “that I have someone to play it with,” especially during virtual school, which she did not enjoy.

The digital connection has been an advantage for their relationship’s longevity, as well, as Benau moved back to California after the school year ended — but now she and Madison can continue getting together each Wednesday.

Allegra Lewis, who coordinates the School Friends program for BBBS, said they’re looking this summer to allow Bigs and Littles more flexibility on when they get together. Now, they meet once a week for 30 to 45 minutes at the same time as other matches, with BBBS staff coordinating the Zoom breakout rooms for individual matches.

On the school side of the effort, Wright Middle School counselor Laurel Ravelo said the virtual world has made it more difficult to remind students that it’s their day to get together, because she can’t go around and tap them on their shoulders to remind them.

Nonetheless, she said for those that have stuck with it, it’s been a great experience. Ravelo recalled one sixth-grader who told her they “feel really safe when I meet with my Big” and another who has been part of a match for a couple of years who said, “We do what we normally do, which is talk.”