Change a Life with Big Brothers Big Sisters - SantaFe.com
Man with child on his shoulders in front on sunset.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region is launching a bold initiative in the Santa Fe area. The organization is on a mission to recruit 60 mentors within just 60 days, and they need your help! Step up and become a mentor, affectionately called a “Big,” to empower and inspire young individuals, known as “Littles,” in a way that will leave an everlasting impact on their lives. Their goal is to recruit 60 new Bigs between Tuesday, July 18, 2023, and Friday, September 15, 2023, so the time is now to become a Big and help bring the magic of the great outdoors into the life of a Little.

Think about a time when kids had fun exploring, biking, and playing in local parks. Unfortunately, today’s generation often misses out on these important experiences. The recent pandemic made things worse by keeping children indoors and glued to screens. This has led to problems like childhood obesity, difficulty paying attention, higher rates of anxiety and depression, and even not getting enough vitamin D. You can help address these problems and change the life of a Little.

How bad is screen time for young people?

Too much screen time is bad for all of us but for young people — children and teenagers in particular — too much screen time can lead to a decrease in necessary sleep and can affect mood. Additionally, the growing brain needs a variety of experiences to develop properly. Getting outdoors more and engaging in physical activities — even things as simple as tossing a football or taking a walk — can help young people process information and improve their problem-solving skills. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a special nonprofit organization focused on combatting child development issues like these. Have you ever considered the positive impact your small contribution of time could have on a Little’s life?

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Big and Little fishing

How can you help a Little through big brothers big sisters?

Your investment of time and attention, especially in an outdoor setting, can make a lifelong difference to a Little. It’s amazing how just a little bit of outdoor time with a caring adult can make a difference in Little’s development. Children who spend some time outdoors are physically healthier, more engaged in learning, and mentally healthier than those who do not go outdoors on a regular basis.

Outdoor time doesn’t have to be structured to reap the benefits such as improved mood and increased physical activity. You can start simple – visit the zoo, take a walk in the park, have a picnic, ride bikes, or toss a ball around. It takes a small commitment — only a few hours a month to be a Big — but that time can have a huge impact on a child’s life. Of the young people who are involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program:

  • 90% said that being in nature made them feel healthier and happier.
  • 79% said it boosted their self-confidence.
  • 77% said it helped with their interactions with their peers.

Those are impressive numbers! Becoming a Big in the BBBS program is a chance to do the fun activities you are already doing outdoors but with a Little. If you’re already hiking, biking, fishing, volunteering in various conservation projects, or playing sports, this is an opportunity to share your time and enthusiasm with a young person.

Big and LIttle mugging for the camera.

How is being outdoors with kids good for you?

Everything that’s good about going outdoors for Littles is good for Bigs too, including playtime. That’s right, when adults play it can be an important source of relaxation. Additionally, you get some essential vitamin D, you’re moving and getting exercise, and the experience of being outdoors in nature causes your serotonin levels to go up. But the unquantifiable part of this experience is sharing the joy and wonder of outdoor adventures with a Little who may not have otherwise got the chance.

By seamlessly incorporating your outdoor hobbies into your time with a Little, you can introduce them to activities they might not have experienced otherwise. Outdoor time with your Little can be as simple as a visit to one of Santa Fe’s numerous parks or nature areas where you can toss a ball, ride bikes, shoot some hoops, enjoy a skate park, or have a picnic. You can do the fun activities you are already doing outdoors but with a Little. Young or future birders might enjoy birdwatching or hiking at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary where the Nature Discovery Area is just for kids. The sanctuary has numerous hiking trails, most of them easy.

Become A Big

Now is the time to become a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters Mountain Region and make an indelible difference in a child’s life by introducing them to the wonders of outdoor activities. As a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, you can help create a future filled with joy, growth, and endless possibilities for Santa Fe’s youth. For more information on becoming a mentor or to sign up and play a transformative role in a child’s life, click here.

Read more about Big Brothers Big Sisters here.

Story sponsored by Big Brothers BIG SISTERS MOUNTAIN REGION

 

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This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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