Derek (left) and Marshall from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, on an outing last year. The mentorship program came to the Enumclaw Plateau region for the first time in 2019.

Derek (left) and Marshall from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, on an outing last year. The mentorship program came to the Enumclaw Plateau region for the first time in 2019.

Local mentorship helps both ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ find joy in hard times

Online UNO, digital princess dress-up and other virtual fun in Enumclaw Plateau program’s pilot year

Francisco and Eric were matched by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound in October 2019, but by March 2020 all of their communication had gone digital. They set up a regular weekly appointment to talk and play games online, joking and talking their way through UNO just like they’d done in person.

Little Brother Francisco says he’s really made a difference for Eric this year — he “kept him sane” and “taught his Big Brother not to take life so seriously all the time.”

The mentorship program came to the Enumclaw Plateau region for the first time in the fall of 2019, a partnership between Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Enumclaw School District and White River School District. It was a challenging year to pilot the program, but also more essential than ever before.

“Anxiety and depression are growing problems for our middle and high school students. King County data shows an increase in anxiety and toxic stress in youth, stemming directly from the healthcare crisis,” says Greta Huntley with the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation. “Connectedness is a key protective factor against anxiety and depression, and making connections is important to maintaining well-being. It is now more important than ever for mentor programs to connect youth with supportive, caring adults.”

Local matches, virtual meet-ups

In their first year, the program has supported 13 local active and in-process matches in the Enumclaw Plateau, and they hope to double that number in their second year. Anyone can refer a student — students can even refer themselves — and more mentors are needed.

“I didn’t succeed in high school. In fact, I dropped out and got my GED instead. Fast forward — as a PhD student in engineering, I felt like I had a lot to share about my unique experiences. Becoming a mentor seemed like a great way to hopefully make the path of another a little easier,” wrote one volunteer mentor on the BBBS Puget Sound Facebook page.

Mentors receive training, resources and ongoing guidance from Big Brothers Big Sisters, including brand new online programming (the monthly virtual match parties are now a hot ticket for both Bigs and Littles). The volunteer commitment is four hours a month for 12 months, and mentors coordinate directly with their mentee and their family to create a schedule and plan activities.

Camber and Ashley spent their first virtual match meetings playing Disney’s Princess Dress-Up online, and continue to meet virtually twice a month. In November they made turkeys out of construction paper, which Camber’s family used as the Thanksgiving centerpiece!

Community members interested in volunteering can start the process at inspirebig.org/volunteer, and parents/guardians and school staff (with guardian consent), can start the student enrollment process at inspirebig.org/enroll-a-child.

Questions about the Enumclaw Plateau program? Contact Greta Huntley, Integrated Student Support Program Coordinator at Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation at gretah@rfwellnessfoundation.org.

Community members interested in volunteering can start the process at inspirebig.org/volunteer, and parents/guardians and school staff (with guardian consent), can start the student enrollment process at inspirebig.org/enroll-a-child. (Amanda Waltman Photo)

Community members interested in volunteering can start the process at inspirebig.org/volunteer, and parents/guardians and school staff (with guardian consent), can start the student enrollment process at inspirebig.org/enroll-a-child. (Amanda Waltman Photo)




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Marketplace

In-person or online, you can safely shop and take out from businesses right here in King County, including Quarterdeck in Des Moines.
Stay local, shop local and be a part of the recovery

Staycation opportunities abound in King County

Derek (left) and Marshall from the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, on an outing last year. The mentorship program came to the Enumclaw Plateau region for the first time in 2019.
Local mentorship helps both ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ find joy in hard times

Online UNO, digital princess dress-up and other virtual fun in Enumclaw Plateau program’s pilot year

In-person or online, you can safely shop and take out from businesses right here in King County, including Quarterdeck in Des Moines.
Stay local, shop local and be a part of the recovery

Staycation opportunities abound in King County

Meticore main image
Meticore Reviews – MyMeticore.com Scam Complaints or Legit Weight Loss Diet Pills?

Meticore has been created with the sole aim of helping you lose… Continue reading

Best CBD for dogs
CBD Oil for Dogs – Best Products Reviewed (2020)

CBD is just as useful for dogs as it is for humans.… Continue reading

More than ever, people are embracing staycations as a way to get out of the house safely and enjoy the best our region has to offer. Businesses like The Mint in Enumclaw have adapted to serve patrons safely, providing takeout for those wanting to enjoy their favorite flavors at home.
Sensational staycations start right here!

Mask up, support a local business, and be a part of the recovery

Comcast Corporation has launched the Comcast RISE program to help strengthen and empower Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned small businesses hard hit by COVID-19.
BIPOC-owned small businesses in Auburn may now apply for support from Comcast RISE

Get marketing consultations, media placements, commercial creative production or technology services

More than 30 different community hubs in Washington state will be equipped with WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” over the next few months to help students get online, participate in distance learning, and do their homework.
Free Internet coming soon to safe spaces that help students participate in distance learning

Comcast launches 30 WiFi-connected “Lift Zones” in Washington, including 10+ locations in King County

Best CBD gummies
Where to Buy the Best CBD Gummies for Pain (2020)

CBD is a popular natural health supplement for supporting everything from sore… Continue reading

Best CBD oil
CBD Oil Reviews: Where to Buy the Best CBD Products in 2020

CBD (cannabidiol) is just one of the many active ingredients in the… Continue reading

Jodi Longley, from CMG Financial
Smart solutions for savvy homeowners

All In One option re-thinks traditional 30-year mortgage