By Anna Lowy
I’m in the GSU elevator going up to the fourth floor. When the doors open, I see a bunch of little bodies running and jumping to pop music. The Sibs just got back from lunch – which likely included soda, sweets and treats – and now they’re on overdrive. It’s one big, happy sugar rush.
Siblings planned to do a group activity with a BU dance team, but the room they reserved cancelled last minute. The kids were disappointed but nobody could tell. The kids filled the CSC with smiles, laughter, and fun.
“This is a typical day,” said Chris Sanchez, Co-Siblings Program Manager. “And the rest of the kids are having fun around campus with their Bigs.”
Chris and Caroline Kohler, Co-Siblings Program Manager, try to let the kids play their own way. “We have the perfect mix,” said Chris. “We do planned activities when the kids need structure, but we also give them the freedom to see campus and have fun with their Bigs.”
Pauline Pesqueira works for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay (BBSMB) and loves the independence the Littles get at BU. “One of the Littles told me that she loved coming to campus because she can make choices for herself. Just by choosing her food in the dining hall, she feels in control,” Pesqueira said.
Ten-year-old Rayana has learned a lot from the Siblings program. “My Big Sister helped me not be shy anymore and now I am more confident,” Rayana said. Zania, Rayana’s friend, finds that spending time with college kids who aren’t shy helps her be less shy, too.
“I like that we can choose what we want to do for fun,” Zania said. “We don’t get bossed around.” The combination of structured activities and free-time allows the kids to learn and grow as independent thinkers. Rayana also loves how she is treated by her Bigs, “They don’t talk to me like I’m a little kid and it makes me feel really good.”
In lieu of their cancelled plans, Chris brought out balloons and turned the scene into a party. The kids started to toss the balloons and fun was had by all. Board and card games were also played in different rooms, along with hide-and-seek. Everyone worked to find a light on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.
Interested in Siblings? Apply for next year!