Representation Matters

By: Simone Newsome

As part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago (BBBSMC) Diversity Committee’s “Representation Matters” Initiative, a Bigs of Color Happy Hour was held at PepsiCo on July 11th. Thank you to BBBSMC Board Member Anthony Kyles for hosting us and helping to underwrite the event.

The purpose of the happy hour was to provide an opportunity for both Community and Site Based Bigs of Color to network with one another, while also encouraging them to BYOB (Bring Your Own Big) to learn more about volunteer opportunities available through the agency. Guests enjoyed drinks and light refreshments while listening to stories from current Bigs detailing their impactful relationships with their Littles, and the importance of showing them that adults who look like them have been able to achieve success.

The idea for the happy hour came about to raise awareness of the need for more Bigs of Color. 94% of children enrolled at BBBSMC are Littles of Color, while only 27% of Bigs are. When matches are made, many factors are taken into account including hobbies, personalities, and strengths that could benefit the child in the relationship. Another important factor that can make a big impact is if Littles see themselves represented.

Many of the Bigs who spoke at the Happy Hour discussed how they were able to help their Littles navigate different situations that are unique to people of color. They also discussed how it cannot be overstated how important it is to see someone who looks like you who has gone on to achieve success in their life. The Happy Hour aimed to recruit a diverse group of adults who are looking to make a positive impact on a child while helping them to realize that their ambitions are attainable.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a BBBS volunteer and making that positive impact, you can take the first step here. You can also view photos from the event and learn more here.