Big Sib Program
Williams College Big Sib Program 2010-2011
The Big Sib program is one that has been successfully running in the Williamstown community for a number of years. This program pairs children in grades kindergarten through six with a Big Brother or Big Sister from Williams College with the goal of providing the children with unique, self-esteem building, one-to-one relationships. Typically, children get together with their Big Sibs once a week for several hours and are engaged in various activities of mutual interest. On occasion, larger group functions (e.g., movies or bowling) may be arranged by the program's student coordinator at Williams. I will again be coordinating the pairing of children who would like to have a Big Sib with interested Williams College students.
The college students involved in our program are a diverse, multi-talented group. Their involvement is strictly voluntary and all have expressed an interest in helping children and developing closer ties to the broader community. Those students who make a commitment to being a Big Sib do so for one academic year, although some maintain their involvement throughout their academic careers at Williams. I will meet with each student volunteer and fully describe the program's goals and expectations, and collect information on their interests and reasons for becoming a Big Sib. We also run criminal background checks on the Big Sibs to help safeguard children. Time constraints and logistical problems prohibit me from doing a more thorough assessment of each volunteer's ability to work effectively with children. Given the admissions process at Williams, I trust that our volunteers are bright, energetic, upstanding young people. Since the program operates outside of school hours and there are many student-Big Sib pairs, I cannot monitor each relationship closely. While I do everything in my power to facilitate a positive Big Sib relationship, I assume each relationship is progressing smoothly unless I hear from you to the contrary. If at any time you feel that your child's Big Sib is not fulfilling your expectations, please let me know immediately so that any problems can be worked through.
Once I find a Big Sib for your child, I will schedule an initial 20-30 minute introductory meeting at school. I will notify you of the date and time of the introduction. The Big Sib is instructed to contact you before making any further plans. If you would prefer another arrangement, please let me know in advance.
Each year, more youngsters than Big Sibs express an interest in the program and, unfortunately, the pool of Williams students (especially males) interested in the program often does not meet the demand. Therefore, I cannot guarantee a Big Sib for all children who apply. I feel that it is important to try to prioritize the referrals based on need, although as you can imagine, this is an inexact process. The program tends to give preference to children with school or peer difficulties, self-esteem issues, or stressful family situations. To minimize any subsequent disappointments, please let your child know that applying for a Big Sib does not ensure a match-up.
If you would like your child to be considered for a Big Sib match-up this school year, please complete and sign the application and have your child return it to her/his teacher, or directly to me. If you have applied previously but a match-up has not been arranged, you must complete an updated permission form. As I do not know all children seeking Big Sibs, the more information you can provide about your child's needs and interests, the easier it will be to find a suitable match. Also, if you harbor any specific concerns, please note them on the application form or discuss your feelings with me or your child's Big Sib so that any potential misunderstandings or conflicts can be avoided. If your child is already involved with a Big Sib and plans to continue this year, please send me a note to that effect so that I may update my records. I would also like to know if you are unhappy for any reason with your child's current Big Sib.
I look forward to the Big Sib program having another successful year and hope that I will be able to meet your child's needs. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about the program, please feel free to contact me at 458-5707 x 251at your convenience.
Wendy Powell Little Sib Application pdf