March 19, 2020

Good Afternoon Parents/Guardians and Bigs,

From all of us at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry, we sincerely hope that you and your family are safe and healthy. Although the situation is ever-changing, we are continuing to check in with your match and to provide support where we can.

FIRST, as you are already aware, BBBSL continues to be committed to ensuring the health of its Bigs, Littles and Families. Please note that BBBSL is continuing to prohibit matches from meeting in person. Matches cannot meet in person until Bigs and Families receive official permission from BBBSL to resume in-person meetings.

SECOND, even though matches cannot meet in person, there are dozens of ways matches can continue to connect and “meet” virtually. In the coming days, be sure to follow along with our Facebook and Instagram. We will be putting together creative ways to stay “connected while apart” with your Little, different fun challenges to share, and ideas on how bring a little more calm and happiness into the lives of the children, volunteers, and families we serve every day.

THIRD, in an effort to make virtual connection possible for ALL matches, we have instituted a new temporary policy that now allows virtual communication between matches that are less than 12-months old and with children under the age of 13 so long as ALL the following requirements are met.


Securing Permission
1. Bigs and Parents/Guardians should communicate to determine which specific virtual communication methods (ex: SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, text, email, Facetime, Google Chat, phone games, online games, etc.) are approved by the Parent/Guardian for communication between the Big and Little.
2. Anytime a Big wants to explore a new communication method s/he should reach out to the parent to gain permission for the new method.
3. BBBSL encourages Bigs and Parents/Guardians to document permission given via text or email.
4. Bigs must NOT communicate with their Littles through methods not explicitly approved by the parent.
5. Parents/Guardians are always responsible for monitoring their child’s use of virtual communication tools to ensure ongoing child safety.
6. All guidelines regarding Child Safety, child appropriate content, and communication remain the same.

How Often
1. Once the Parent/Guardian has given permission for virtual communication, matches are encouraged to stay in regular contact via approved communication methods.
2. BBBSL recommends that Bigs initiate contact with their Littles/families at least once weekly if not more.
3. BBBSL Staff will be reaching continue to reach out to conduct Match Support during this period. During Match Support contacts, Bigs should be prepared to share how they are communicating with their Littles while in-person match outings are prohibited. Parents/Guardians should also be prepared to share how their Little is doing, how often communication is taking place, and any other relevant information.

Ideas for Communication
1. Ask your Little what they are doing day-to-day. Ask them what they have been doing for fun. Ask them how e-learning or schooling from home has been going. Ask them what might be worrying them.
2. Consider playing an online/virtual game with them.
3. Help your Little with their homework virtually.
4. Consider “watching” a funny movie together and texting each other about it throughout the movie.
5. Create TikTok challenges.
6. “Share” a meal together over FaceTime.
7. Create a challenge for your Little or do an online challenge together.
8. Take a trip to a virtual museum together:
9. Take photos of something close-up and ask each other to solve the mystery of what the photo subject is.
10. Go for a “walk” together while using Facetime or other video conferencing feature.

BBBSL staff will be reaching out for ongoing Match Support and to review communications with each match individually.

We are so grateful to each of you for your patience, understanding and support during this time. Should you need anything, please let us know!

With gratitude,

Merridith Crowe
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry