By Christopher Tobutt
Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cayman’s mentorship program, delivered 40 big hot cooked Christmas meals to the families of the “Littles,” (the “little brothers and little sisters”) They were delivering the meals from Fosters Airport and Fosters Camana Bay. “The Goal the vision for Big Brothers Big Sisters is for all children to kind of achieve their potential, and really that goes along with have exposure of a positive adult in their lives that they can count on, and that will be a responsible friend for them,” said, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Programmes Manager, Erin Kaufman, “We are catering to children between the ages of six and sixteen, and when they get matched (with the ‘Big’) we see improvements like increased self-esteem, increased self-confidence, more interest in school, and better family relationships just by them having the opportunity to spend time with a responsible adult.”
“The meals are being sponsored by Rotary Central, and Resilience Cayman and all of the gifts today that have been going so each child and all the siblings in their home, and they are being delivered to families of Big Brothers big sisters across the island today by all of our volunteers. Thanks to Jeep 345 which has donated all of the gifts that are going to the homes today as well.”
Before each of the ‘Bigs’ is matched to a ‘Little,’ they have to go through a training programme, Ms Kaufman said. Part of the training includes ‘Darkness to Light – Stewards of Children,’ “It’s a child sexual abuse prevention training but we use it as the standard child safety training here in Cayman,” Ms Kaufman explained, “It’s to make sure that our adult volunteers are going to be safe with the children, and they understand what the law is when it comes to abuse and neglect, so that they establish safe practices when spending time with children. They learn how to recognize signs of abuse, and be able to respond appropriately and responsibly.”
Evan Lindsay has been a Big Brother for a year-and-a-half. “I’m delivering a meal to the two littles that I hang out with. One of them is 12 and the other one is 16. It’s been good to just get exposed to different parts of the Island get to see how different people live, and really get to know them and just get to spend time with them… for me, it’s been really nice and really rewarding to just get to know them.” Another volunteer with the programme, Gabrielle Myren said, “I was born and raised here, and I really wanted to give back to my community and do it in a way that would affect the next generation.
Outside in Foster’s parking lot, a pretty grey Jeep, all decorated for Christmas was waiting full of gifts for the ‘Bigs’ to take to their ‘Littles.’ Trinette, of Jeep 345, said, “We are a community-oriented group of Jeep owners and we are teaming up today with Big Brothers, Big Sisters. We have done a toy drive through the Jeeps, and Big Brothers Big Sisters have arranged food.