Man Up Recruitment Story
In 2008 John Stultz was invited to Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Gourmet Dinner by his CEO. John recalls listening to the “BBBS Person of the Year” tell his story of being a “Little”, and crediting his Big Brother with helping steer him away from drugs, gangs, and negative peer influences. John was stirred by the emotion behind his story and blown away at impact another person could have in changing someone’s path in life. John left inspired. In 2010, John became a Big Brother to Isaiah. John says, “The entire experience has been so tremendous for me and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of Isaiah’s family. I look forward to the years ahead and I hope I can continue to make a positive influence in his life.” But John didn’t stop there. He learned that BBBS was facing a severe deficit in the number of male volunteers. Currently, BBBS of SDC has over 700 children on the wait-list, of which nearly 70% are boys. And on average, a boy will wait 547 days to be matched to a Big Brother! So, John decided to ask his friends to get involved. A couple emails later, and he had recruited 10 new Big Brothers! Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking someone, and other times you will have to calm some fears or overcome some myths about what mentoring is. Below are some of the most common concerns that we hear when someone is considering become a Big. Big Brother, John Shultz, took some time to respond to them from his experience, and BBBS added a few extra thoughts. We hope this list is helpful to you or someone you know who is thinking about becoming a Big. 1) I just don’t have the time. John: It’s as little as 4 hours per month, which is less time than a round a golf. My friends knew I travelled a lot and was out of town, and I told them if I can do it then they can do it. If there is a busy month with not much time on the weekends, then a quick movie on a Friday evening works and you still have time to go out afterwards and meet up with friends. BBBS: We also have a School-Based Program, which is only one hour a week at a school site, for men who have flexible afternoon schedules. 2) I don’t want to drive too far to pick up my Little. John: This was a concern for my initial pairing with a Little in East County. The time it takes to commute can be burdensome, especially with high gas prices. I explained to the guys I recruited that if this was one of their fears that they can work with BBBS to find a match close in proximity. With 500 kids across the county, there is a high likelihood that they can find you a match that isn’t too far a drive. BBBS: We strive to make matches that are close, so they are more likely to stand the test of time. We will work with you to accomplish this. 3) I don’t know what kinds of stuff to do with a kid? John: This is your chance to be a “BIG” Kid. I knew my friends liked video games, playing sports, going to sporting events, and going to Boomers. Now you have an “excuse” to be a kid again and do all the fun stuff you may not have done in a while. And your Match Support Specialist provides you with weekly “Big Ideas” – a list of free or inexpensive activities happening in your neighborhood. They make it so easy for you! BBBS: We also provide activities and events throughout the year for matches. In the School-Based program, you will have a BBBS specialist at your site providing you with ideas and games to play. 4) It’s another expense. John: BBBS provides many free activities. You can also simply go to the park, the beach, playing sports, board games, etc. The program is not about buying things for your Little. I am in the Sports Bigs program, which works with community partners to host monthly sports clinics, games and free tickets to events. BBBS: Free & cheap is what we encourage. If you need ideas, you have a Match Support Specialist assigned to help you. 5) What if we don’t get along or have nothing in common? John: BBBS has a thorough process to match you with someone who shares your interests and fits your personality. BBBS tells the Big about their potential match and they have the ability to pass if they don’t believe it’s the right match. The Little does not know, so there are no hard feelings. BBBS is not passing judgment – they want each and every Match to be happy and long-lasting! BBBS: It’s true – we want to make strong, successful matches. We will work with you to accomplish this. 6) I‘m worried I won’t qualify. John: If you think you may not qualify then the best thing to do is contact BBBS and explain your circumstances. You don’t know until they try!
Big Brother John wants to give you a “Man Up” challenge: Ask one man in your life to be a Big Brother! Tell them why you think they would be great it at and keep this list above handy in case they have concerns. Together we can help one child at a time.