Doing Good: Big Brothers Big Sisters of NWA helps matches stay in touch during pandemic

Doing Good

BBBS is helping kids continue to build strong relationships with mentors despite social distancing.

Fayetteville, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It is hard to maintain strong relationships when you can’t see the person. But, with the support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas, kids are still able to stay in touch with their mentors during this difficult time.

Nick and his Big Brother Matt Bumgarner make a great match.

“He’s kinda like a father figure to me. He helps me out with all the problems I’ve got. He’s someone I can go to and talk to if i got something going on. He’s just a really important person to me,” Nick said.

It is a match made by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas.

“We’re matched based off of our similarities. One of the things nick and I have in common is we like to be outside,” Bumgarner said.

“Our first time hanging out we went to Lake Fayetteville and did Frisbee golf,” Nick said.

Those types of outings are not possible anymore as people practice social distancing.

“its just really critical to have that mentor’s relationship during this time when everything else is kind of out of sorts. You have that constant,” BBBS of Northwest Arkansas board member Angela Oxford said.

That is why BBBS is so important right now.

“We know that big brothers big sisters has a proven track record of combating anxiety and depression and loneliness so we’re just trying to make sure we can stay in touch with our families and connect them to resources,” BBBS of Northwest Arkansas Executive Director Tami Shaver said.

It is helping matches like Nick and Matt stay in touch no matter how they do it.; texting, phone calls or video chat.

“I know they have that house party app where I know you can play games virtually which I think is cool, but some of that stuff I’m just learning now too because we haven’t had to do stuff like that yet,” Bumgarner said.

In the meantime, the technology will help them plan for a big occasion.

“We’ve been matched for about a year now and we’ve been planning what we can do whenever we hang out again for our one-year anniversary,” Nick said.

It will be something to celebrate when life returns to normal.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas has had to cancel two fundraisers already because of COVID-19, so it could really use donations. To contribute, click here.

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