GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — Judy Thompson has been a big sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin for about a year.
She and her 10-year-old little sister usually like to get outside when they’re spending time together: “[we] go biking or roller blade, but since the coronavirus hit, we’ve had to social distance,” Thompson said.
That doesn’t mean the pairing has fallen out of contact.
“Social distancing doesn’t necessarily have to be social distancing,” Executive director Katie Hess said, “it could just be physical distancing.”
Thanks to technology, the bigs and littles have been able to maintain their relationships throughout the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that the relationships have moved exclusively to the internet.
“Not all of our littles have the capabilities to Skype or do Zoom,” Hess explained. “It’s amazing how our bigs have been creative in still connecting with our littles.”
Thompson added that during the pandemic, she’s aimed to spend time with her little doing “anything that keeps her physically and mentally engaged.”
Thompson and her little sister have been talking online, but they’ve also managed to plant a garden together while social distancing.
“I’ve been planting seeds and I took some seedlings and dropped them off at her doorstep,” she explained. “She sent me pictures of her dad and her outside, getting her garden ready and planting the seeds.”
Bigs like Thompson are doing their part, and there’s plenty of room for anyone interested in joining the organization, even during this period of social distancing.
“This is the time for them to contact us,” Hess told Local 5, “because what we can do at this point is get them in the process, get them enrolled in the program so that we can start the matching process.”
Thompson explained that right now, littles need bigs more than ever: “They don’t have a routine, they don’t have a time where they have to wake up, they don’t go to school, they don’t see their teachers, so to be that consistent support throughout this, I think that’s really important for them.”