THE TRANSITION FROM VIRTUAL TO IN-PERSON
As we begin taking our first steps out of the pandemic, things that once felt normal might feel unusual now. If you’ve been primarily interacting with your Little virtually – or have had limited interactions with them in general – you may be struggling to find ways to reconnect. It’s natural to feel like you’ve taken a step back or are starting from scratch in your relationship with your Little. We want to help you find the best way to start a conversation and establish a new connection with your mentee through these helpful tips.
NOW IS THE TIME TO GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER AGAIN
If you haven’t seen your Little much over the past year they’ve probably grown and changed quite a bit. Your Little isn’t the same person you knew a year ago, and you might not be either. So, now is a perfect time to get to know each other again.
As you begin seeing your Little in-person, here are a few suggestions that will strengthen your mentoring relationship:
- Be patient. Just like it probably took you a while to get to know your Little when you first met, it may take a while to get to know them again after the time you’ve spent apart. If you’re feeling uncomfortable, chances are your Little is, too. As a mentor, do your best to be understanding and patient as you and your mentee work together to feel comfortable with each other again.
- Awkward isn’t bad. It is okay to feel awkward. Resist the urge to push through this stage too quickly. Stay in the awkward – this is a good place to meet youth honestly and really get to know them.
- Be curious. Time has passed and your Little may have entirely new ideas, hobbies, interests, and passions. Take some time to ask your Little about these things—what TV shows have they been watching? What books have they been reading? What games have they been playing? What have they been doing to pass the time? Have they learned anything new during quarantine or found new hobbies? Where have they experienced growth?
- Find common ground. Take some time to talk about what the last year has been like for each of you and find common ground. What was most challenging? What was enjoyable? Don’t be afraid to share what you have learned, how you have spent your time, and what has been most difficult for you throughout the pandemic.
ALL RELATIONSHIPS EVOLVE OVER TIME
Remember that all relationships require work and change over time – especially relationships with youth. Use the unique experience you and your Little have just lived through to get to know each other in new and deeper ways. Remember, all of us at BBBSMT are here to support you as your relationship grows and changes.
Your Match Support Specialist will be happy to answer any questions you may have and can provide guidance to ensure that your transition during this “new normal” is as seamless as possible. We appreciate your continued commitment to your Little and our mission. Your perseverance in these difficult times to defend the potential of our youth inspires us!
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, we ensure every volunteer mentor matched in our program feels equipped and empowered to face challenges by offering professional match support. If you’re interested in becoming a Big, you can fill out our volunteer inquiry form to get started or click here to learn more about our mentoring programs.