Dear Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Family,
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) wants to take the time to acknowledge all our volunteers and families for their resilience and unity during these times of healthcare uncertainty and societal unrest. Big Brothers Big Sisters wants you as well as the world to know that we as an organization denounce all racism, inequality, and police brutality.
At this historic moment, when change can be felt, what actions can Big Brothers Big Sisters take to strengthen and elevate our work with youth?
First, we must take every opportunity to continue to denounce racism, bigotry, inequality and prejudice. Defending potential means we openly and consistently address the systemic barriers children face. Racism is part of the trauma in many young lives. We must name it and act upon it every single day.
Second, we will create trainings for our volunteer Bigs and our BBBS staff members across the country so that they can be best equipped to talk to their Littles about this prevalence of violence and racism. We don’t want to compound trauma in our youth by being ill-equipped or misinformed on how to best support our Littles.
Third, this is an opportunity to examine and improve upon our Bigs with Badges program. This program is designed to develop strong one-to-one relationships between police officers and our Littles. The vision of the program is to provide a structure within our mission to help disarm bigotry, racism, and preconceived stereotypes at all levels. It is connecting police officers to the young people they serve, for a better appreciation of communities, families, and the adverse conditions many live with every day. In turn the Littles and their families have the opportunity to interact with a law enforcement officer outside of their duties and realize that they are normal, caring people who want to spread some good in the world. We are working on ways this important program can be improved and towards that end, we will examine how we can be advocates for change in our local communities and how this program can better serve young people.
Fourth, we will engage in a dialogue with each of our funding partners to ensure that our respective values on racial justice and equity are aligned. We are an inclusive and equitable organization that values everyone from our staff to board members, donors and especially volunteers, and Littles. Our partners must embrace the differences and the uniqueness of all people who will help support our organization in building bridges and igniting, empowering, and defending the potential of the youth we serve. All of us as human beings are works in progress; learning, evolving, and changing. We must leverage this moment in our nation’s history to make progress together.
This is just the beginning of what Big Brothers Big Sisters can accomplish. The list will expand as all of you, individually and collectively, add to the ideas that can be implemented. “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
As always, it is an honor to work with all of you. We have all been given this opportunity to lead and defend the potential of all youth, and to stand against racism, bigotry and prejudice to help make our country a place where there truly is liberty and justice for all.
Chief Executive Officer – Big Brother to Hyland since 2013
March 30th Update: A Message from our CEO
I am in awe of the supportive messages we’ve received from national affiliates of BBBS and friends of BBBS-Greater Sacramento. It further illustrates what I’ve known all along, volunteer Big Brothers & Big Sisters are a special collection of some of the most good hearted and generous people on earth. These are difficult times for all of us and unfortunately it looks to just be the beginning.
We hope to provide match support and special offerings for outings as soon as it is safe for our community. Until then, we are in survival mode.
As much as possible, through email and social media posts we have provided ways for Big Brothers and Big Sisters to stay in touch with their Littles and families during this time of social distancing. We will continue to do so. I also want to be as transparent as possible about our financial stability. On Wednesday of last week, I had to lay off 50% of our staff. This is never an easy thing to do. Unfortunately, we are a nonprofit. As such, we are not sitting on a ton of liquid assets nor cash reserves in the event of a crisis or substantial decline in donations. If county, state and nationwide shelter in place directives stay in force for even a few more weeks than predicted it would continue to prevent us from being able to hold fundraisers and negatively impact the ability for even the most giving and generous amongst us to donate or pledge money to support our mission. The unfortunate consequence would have a huge impact on our ability to make payroll and keep our support staff.
Hours and hours were spent pouring over potential scenarios. Cutting payroll was the obvious answer that kept staring us in the face and is the only way to buy us time and give Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento a fighting chance to regroup, restructure and rebound stronger than ever once we all get through this crisis together. Thanks to recent Executive Orders regarding unemployment benefits as they related to businesses and nonprofits affected by COVID-19, our staff will be able to obtain the financial assistance they need much more quickly.
BBBS Sacramento will be prepared and ready to bounce back providing match support more than ever as soon as we can. We hope that you and your families are safe and healthy during these times. If you are in a position to donate and allow us to continue with our small staff working from home, please do so by visiting our website: www.bbbs-sac.org.
March 18th Update
Sacramento County health officials yesterday afternoon called on all residents, not just the elderly, to stay home effective immediately unless they have essential chores to do, such as grocery shopping, banking, food pickups, or health appointments. As such, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento Area asks all Big Brothers/Sisters, families, and volunteers at this time to please cancel/postpone any scheduled outings with your Littles until further notice. We will reassess proper next steps during the first week of April and send another update out to everyone on how best to proceed with outings or if we will continue to ask that they be postponed. In the meantime, we encourage all Bigs to be creative in staying connected to your Little in whatever way you feel most comfortable, are able to, and can do. Whether that be calling your Little, Facetiming with them, etc. There are lots of creative ways to stay connected so we encourage you to do so.
We are heeding the advice of public health officials, who believe this is what we as a community need to do to limit the number of community members who could be exposed to the illness and prevent our health care system from the real possibility of being overwhelmed. At the advice of the same public health officials, we encourage everyone in the BBBS Sacramento family to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise, when possible, as long as it’s a safe distance from others.
We appreciate your support and understanding during this unprecedented time. Please contact us at 916-646-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.
March 13th Update
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Sacramento area is committed to keeping our Bigs, Littles, families, employees and supporters healthy and safe. We are currently taking steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
As families, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and volunteers of our program, we want to communicate openly with you about our procedures, plans and general tips for preventing the spread of COVID-19.
In effect now:
- The BBBSGreaterSac office will be closed, but phones will continue to be monitored until April 1st.
- BBBSGreaterSac will limit business-related travel and monitor recreational travel of all BBBSGreaterSac staff.
- We will continue to thoroughly clean the BBBSGreaterSac office.
- All match-related and agency events, including Match Intro Meetings, Big and Little interviews, match activities like Strikes for Kids bowling, etc. are postponed and will be re-evaluated on April 1st.
- Effective today, BBBSGreaterSac strongly recommends that all Bigs and Littles avoid in-person match outings until April 1st (at minimum) and instead focus on building a friendship through email, phone, text, FaceTime, etc. Please contact our office at 916-646-9300.
Be sure to review and follow the California Department of Health COVID-19 updates and recommendations here: Link
Thank you for your continued support of the BBBSGreaterSac mission and all you do to defend potential in our community.