A Word from the Executive Director
At this joyous, giving, family filled time of year, I am moved to write a word of thanks to all the members of the Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers extended family. The CBSBB family includes: board members, staff, family members, Littles, Bigs, partner agencies and our wide circle of friends and supporters. It is because of all of us working together in harmony with a common mission that we are able to do the important work that we do helping our Littles and their families recognize, reach for and achieve their full potential. I have been the Executive Director at CBSBB for just over two years now and every day I become more convinced of the transformative power of mentoring. Mentoring, when done right, truly can transform lives; those of both our Littles and our Bigs. At the same time, I am reminded every day of how much pain and suffering continue to exist in the world. We must all work to make this city, this country and this world a fairer, more just place in which to live. We at CBSBB will do our part as we continue to strengthen our program and seek to serve more Littles. So as 2014 draws to a close what I most wish to say is: Thank you, thank you, thank you. As Tiny Tim declares at the end of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “God bless us, every one!”
A Tour of the Guggenheim
On November 22nd a small group of our Littles and Bigs participated in a special tour of the “ZERO: Countdown Tomorrow 1950s – 60s” exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. The tour was generously coordinated by our board member Tara Liddle and led by Natasha Schlesinger, an award-winning independent art historian and art consultant who has worked in the field for 22 years. During their personalized tour CBSBB matches learned about the artist and the vision behind the pieces created. One match shared these thoughts about their experience:
I didn't have any expectations upon arriving at the museum; I had never been to the Guggenheim before. During her introduction Natasha pulled out 5 or 6 things from a zip lock bag (thread, feather, foil, wire, cloth & nails) and after we described each item she then told us that artist used those materials for inspiration when creating the artwork. That was a great opening because the Littles were excited & the Bigs intrigued and it helped us better understand the artwork on display.
Candria & Noelia
Little Sister, Noelia Garcia who is at the top of her 7th grade class dreams of becoming a “boss” just like her Big Sister, Candria, who is a Team Manager at Bank of America. Counting down the days until their approaching one year match anniversary, Noelia and Candria have been soaking up each other’s time doing a variety of cool things – whether it is dressing up and doing a little karaoke in Korea Town, or ice skating in Bryant Park, or doing some research in a public library. One of their more recent projects is based on Noelia’s interest in learning more about her family history. The match looks forward to hitting the library this winter break and uncovering Noelia’s family tree together. In addition to this project, Noelia has already made it her business to ask if anyone at Candria’s job has allergies, as she would like to bake them cookies, get a chance to meet them all and of course, see where the “boss” works.
Kudos to Noelia and Candria who have forged such a strong and trusting bond. Cheers to a forthcoming completion of one year matched and to many more match years to come!
Parents Take the Lead
In November, we launched the parent workshop series “Building Successful Families,” developed by a group of parent leaders over the summer. Divided into 4 buckets, or topic areas, we started with Bucket 1: Reducing Stress and Having Fun. We held workshops for our Spanish-speaking parents as well as our English-speaking parents, recognizing that the two communities both speak different languages and have unique interests.
Both groups of parents had an opportunity to learn mindfulness techniques to stay in the present moment and reflect on the idea that situations are not always so stressful; it’s how we think about them that makes it more difficult.Participants identified common sources of stress and were grateful for the experience. Everyone committed to continue to practice the exercises they learned during the workshop at home.
For the “Having Fun” portion, the English-speaking parents chose to play games with one another and share ideas on how to have fun as a family. One piece of wisdom that stuck out is appreciating what our children do well rather than focusing on their downfalls; this can help families celebrate one another! On the other hand, the Spanish-speaking group determined that a way of having fun as a family was as simple as an outing to a museum.
A group of 18 participants, including mothers and kids, went to the museum of the Moving Image. Everyone learned about cameras, movie history, and customs, in addition to participating in interactive activities like recording their voice, movements, and changing the music of a movie scene. The families expressed that this cultural activity was interesting and different. One mother stated that going to the museum is not in her list of priorities because her attention and energy goes to her family. She saw this outing as a good opportunity to spend time with her kids in a new way and she wasn’t disappointed.
We’re looking forward to Bucket 2 which will focus on parenting and communication in January!
On November 15, 2014, ten of our newest mentors joined us for our fourth and final Mentor Training of 2014! Jamelah, a current TTYA Big and Mentor Advisory Council (MAC) member shared some insight and advice with her fellow mentors. The day was filled with learning new tools and techniques on how to be an effective mentor and role-model. We are pleased to welcome our new mentors who are excited to serve as friends and role models to our amazing CSBBB Littles. Congratulations to all of our new Bigs!
Save the Date - Annual 3 Queens & Kings Holiday Party
On Sunday, January 11, 2015 from 3pm-6pm, CBSBB will be hosting its annual 3 Queens & Kings Holiday Party. As part of CBSBB’s tradition, we want to welcome and celebrate the New Year with our families and volunteers. So come out and join us for dinner, music, crafts and more! Please RSVP to Nicole Migliore via phone at 212-475-3291, ext. 200 or email at email@example.com no later than January 6th.
P.S. Littles, remember to bring your report card to the holiday party in order to be entered into our Grand Prize raffle!
January 11 - 3 Queens & Kings Holiday Party from 3pm-6pm
February 21 - Mentor Training
February 22 – Strike a Match Bowling Event