CAMDEN, Maine — The coronavirus pandemic has caused many businesses and services to temporarily close—many that children have come to depend on.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine (BBBSMM) temporarily shut down their mentoring program's weekly meetings held at Camden/Rockport elementary school in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
In a press release, BBBSMM shared that Big Sister Rachael Rademacher and her 7-year-old Little Sister Abby Erickson haven’t seen each other since March 8, just a week before the coronavirus pandemic suspended their weekly meetings.
Thanks to a new pen pal program the two are able to stay connected. 176 additional school-based matches across the region are also connecting through the program.
“It’s been great to keep our friendship going this way,” Rademacher said from her home in Rockport, after receiving a recent letter from Abby. “I love knowing how she’s doing. That she is okay. Keeping relationships and connections during this time is really helpful for both of us.”
The BBBSMM program serves over 560 youth across several counties in the mid-Maine area. In response to the CDC guidelines of social distancing, the agency launched a #BiggerTogether campaign that includes Bigs and Littles exchanging letters and artwork through the program. Children from around the state are also encouraged to send letters of support and hope to the Littles in the program.
BBBSMM said that many of their Littles are feeling isolated. Some live in poverty, have families struggling with substance abuse or live in unsettled homes.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters make a big difference in the lives of these children. The isolation some of these children are experiencing may have a lasting impact; this program allows the Bigs and Littles to stay in touch.
BBBSMM matches are finding other creative ways to stay connected. Virtual meetings are also encouraged during this time of physical distancing.
BBBSMM said, "For confidentiality reasons, these matches do not exchange personal information, and only interact at programs under the guidance of BBBS staff and volunteer coordinators. Bridging the gap during the pandemic is critical to the long-term well-being of Littles, according to Gwendolyn Hudson, executive director of BBBSMM."
BBBSMM matches are finding creative ways to stay connected. Virtual meetings are encouraging during this time of physical distancing.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine changes the lives of over 650 youth facing adversity by providing meaningful, positive relationships that ignite their greatest potential. Our successful mentoring programs pair children, ages 5-14 (Littles), with caring, responsible role models (Bigs) in one-to-one friendships in seven counties throughout eastern, coastal and central Maine.
We partner with parents, in conjunction with over 30 schools and hundreds of volunteers and generous partners in our community to help children have higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoid risky behaviors and achieve greater educational success.
For current information about Bowl for Kids’ Sake dates, the #BiggerTogether campaign, Big Pen Pal Program, volunteering or donating to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine, visit bbbsmidmaine.org or call 207.236.BBBS (2227).