As you are aware, the state of Illinois, with the exception of Chicago, moved into Phase 3 of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan on May 29th. Presently, Chicago is set to move into Phase 3 on June 3rd. In Phase 3, all gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed with this limit subject to change based on latest data & guidance.
In light of this change, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago is allowing matches in both Illinois and Indiana to resume match outings on June 15th upon receipt of a completed electronic waiver from both Big and Parent. Please find the electronic waiver linked at the bottom of this document.
Resuming in-person outings is at the discretion of each match and its participants. You may choose to maintain your virtual relationship with your Little and resume in-person outings once you, your Little, and their parent/guardian are comfortable.
If any party in the match relationship is at heightened risk from the Coronavirus, you should not meet in person at this time. This may also include family members, partners, or roommates. Heightened risk factors include advanced age, respiratory illness, diabetes and immune system suppression, among many others. Refer to the CDC for further guidance.
We recognize these circumstances change daily, especially in light of present events, and may need to change based on city and state regulations. We plan to keep you informed regarding any changes via email. Please follow the most recent communication and reach out to your Match Support Specialist with any questions.
Communicating about COVID-19 & Risk Factors in your Match
- Each person in the match must assess their health directly before each outing and discuss with each other to determine if the outing should occur.
- Feeling achy? Fever or chills? Fatigued? Cough or tightness in chest? Unusual digestive issues? Unknown rash?
- If any of these are true, do not proceed with an in-person outing and instead opt for a virtual outing.
- Share with your match if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or had exposure to a large number of people.
- We need to be open and honest with each other so we can protect one another and work together to make the best informed decision about an outing.
- Bigs should be clear on planned activities when communicating with parents/guardians, and parents/guardians should communicate any restrictions they require and give specific approval to the outing.
- When together in-person with your Little, remind each other about rules for the day.
- How will we help keep each other healthy? There are many logistics to think through. Make a plan and discuss your plan. Check-in throughout your outing.
Protocol for In-Person Outings
- All match parties must wear a mask at all times during outings.
- Bigs, we recommend reminding Little’s parent/guardian to send their child on the outing with a face mask, and have an extra with you in case your Little doesn’t have one or they are unable to find their own.
- Here you can find information on mask hygiene and cleaning masks should you lend one to your Little.
- Wash and sanitize hands frequently.
- Maintain at least 6 feet of distance.
- Riding in the car together can be a challenge with social distancing. You may choose to avoid it all together. If you do choose to transport your Little, follow these guidelines:
- Big and Little must wear masks at all times.
- Consider having windows down or keeping the ride short.
- Little should sit in the backseat.
- Use hand sanitizer directly before the car ride and directly after to help reduce germs in your car.
- Big should sanitize high touch areas in their car before and after outing.
Recommended Match Activities
Outdoor activities are best – view the below list for ideas. Be mindful of the time of your outing – morning activities will help beat the heat and the crowds.
- Roller blade, bike, or skateboard
- Go on a self guided architecture tour
- Explore the art murals in Pilsen
- Visit a nature preserve
- Make thank you cards for essential workers
- Walk around a neighborhood neither of you have explored before
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Try and identify various flowers, plants, and trees
- Play catch, tennis, frisbee, or volleyball (contact sports are not permitted at this time)
- Go fishing
- Try some science experiments (mentos and diet coke, make a volcano or slime)
- Make a time capsule and bury it in your yard
- Play outdoor games like hopscotch, “I spy”, or four square
- Chalk the sidewalk with encouraging words or fun pictures
- Paint rocks, and place them around town
- Play cards or a board game
- Teach your Little how to change a tire
- Pick up litter to help clean up your neighborhood
- Tie-dye a t-shirt or other items! (look up ice dying for a new way of tie-dying)
- Walk your or your Little’s dog with your Little- this can teach them responsibility
COVID-19 Match Waiver
To resume outings, both parent and volunteer must submit a waiver. To submit the waiver, please follow the link below:
Questions about your match’s waiver status? Contact Anna Stolz at Stolz@bbbschgo.org.
We thank you for your continued commitment to both BBBSChi and your LIttle. We encourage you to reach out to your Match Support Specialist or Program Coordinator if you have any questions or would like to discuss resuming outings safely.
We want you and your Little to grow and maintain your relationship during this time. BBBSChi traditionally does not allow for matches to video chat, however while the state is sheltering in place we are lifting that rule. As always you can still call, text, email, or even send them snail mail! Playing games online (in any form) is still prohibited. Below are some guidelines and suggestions on how you can connect with your Little while you cannot see them in person.
Rules for video chatting:
- Parent/Guardian most be home & give their child permission to video chat
- Calls must take place in the common area of the home
- Let your Little know that this is only temporarily allowed- until match outings resume
- Matches have been allowed to play web based/games through apps. However video gaming, and being friends on social media is still prohibited.
Approved platforms for video chatting (Zoom is not allowed due to security risks):
- Google Duo
- Google Hangouts
- Microsoft Teams
Ways to stay connected:
- Mail a care package, including things like a coloring/activity/word search/sudoku book, a craft kit, friendship bracelet materials, paint set, Little’s favorite snack/candy bar, a card/note
- Virtual book club – send yourself and Little the same book, connect over the phone to talk about the chapters you’ve read
- “Outing in a box” – one Big was going to buy a premade pizza crust, sauce, and cheese along with a board game to drop off at Little’s home to do with their family
- Do some of their school homework/packets together
- Use Microsoftpaint, YouiDraw, JS Paint or other drawing apps/websites/tools to create a piece of art that you can email back and forth and each person continues to add to it
- Words with Friends
- Game Pigeon: this allows iPhone/iPad users to play a variety of games within iMessage
- House Party: better for older kids, play things like Pictionary and trivia. The application allows you to see other players while you play games.
- Video chat – yes, some of these might be unfamiliar or awkward, but embrace it!
- Read a book to each other
- Both color or paint
- Scavenger hunt – find things in your house and show them to the other person
- Do a “talk show interview” (like, act like you’re on the Colbert Show) with Little or Big’s roomie, sibling, parent, partner to find out more about them
- Play 20 questions
- Put on a concert – Big/Little can play their instrument for the other
- Work out – do some yoga sequences or challenge each other to sit-ups or pushups
- Talk in the morning and plan out your day together to brainstorm healthy ways to stay occupied
- Watch a show or movie together by pressing play at the same time or give Netflix Party a try! (it allows friends to have long distance movie nights!)
- Figure out how to play a game together, like Uno or chess or Battleship
- Eat dinner together
- Both pull up the same word search and see who can find the words faster; or the same crossword puzzle and do it together
- Read age appropriate material about coronavirus (with Parent/Guardian’s approval) and talk about how to stay safe
- Look up online virtual tours and watch together (eg. The Louvre)
- Teach the other person how to cook your favorite meal
- Look up common phrases and words from a language you wish to learn and practice together
Engage in Active Listening
The purposeful listening to and acknowledgment of what a young person is saying helps build trust, empathy, and understanding. Concentrate on what the young person is saying and ask reflective questions to clarify, and confirm that you understand. Provide feedback and help brain-storm, when appropriate.
While we know in-person communication is best, tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime are very effective in providing “face-to-face” contact when we can’t physically be in the same room together.
Stay on Track
Keep notes of what was discussed and highlight any action items or goals to focus on next time. This allows a match to quickly pick up where they left off and keep momentum going. It also shows the youth that you are paying attention and focused on what is important to them.
When mentoring remotely, mentors need to be intentional and consistent. Stay in regular contact by sending emails, text messages and/or calling. Make sure you establish “rules” about when, how often and how you will connect. It can also be helpful to schedule your contacts so that both you and your mentee, can plan accordingly.