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"Women, Join Your Win/Win World"
By Nancy Coggins


June 01, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - Would you believe, "you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want." (Zig Ziglar, See You at the Top)

The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) non-profit organization in Ketchikan, Alaska, is looking for at least 20 volunteer female "Bigs" to match with "Littles" in its Community Program. Specifically, that's "Bigs" who are 17-years-old and up to share their time with "Littles" who are from 5- to 17-years-old.

jpg Big Sister Christine...

Who loves the dog more, Big Sister Christine or Little Sister Corina?
Photo by BBBS Staff: Gretchen Klein, Priscilla Barnett, Tracy Arce

Volunteering to be a "Big" can be your way to give back to the community for all it has offered you over the years. It's your chance to feel worthwhile.

Make a difference!

The Ketchikan Community simply bursts with many kinds of activities that are perfect for "Bigs" to do with their "Littles." The list of possible adventures fills up a year's worth of outings. Excellent sources for exciting, current pursuits are the Ketchikan Daily News, SitNews, The Local Paper, Creative Currents (Ketchikan Area Arts & Humanities Council) and "Community Information" weekday editions (KRBD-FM Radio).

jpg Big Sister Lindy...

Big Sister Lindy and Little Sister Janet pose with their stuffed animals.
Photo by BBBS Staff: Gretchen Klein, Priscilla Barnett, Tracy Arce

Fun activities: Entering contests, creating paintings and arts and crafts projects, observing or playing with animals, participating in sports such as bowling, mini golf, hiking, fishing and boating, attending Boys and Girls Club events, dancing, sharing precious treasures and collections, attending plays, going to art and science exhibits at the Museum and galleries, listening to music at the Monthly Grind, in plays and in concerts, reading, growing flowers and sprouts from seeds, playing cards, taking part in the exciting monthly BBBS activity, and on and on. Although BBBS suggests these meeting activities occur two to four times a month, each for one hour or more, you, as a "Big," have the final say. The activities list expands exponentially as the relationship between a "Big" and "Little" develops into what often becomes a life-long friendship.

BBBS Professionals, knowing lots about people and what elements go into making successful relationships, carefully evaluate the potential of each match, and they are there to help throughout its duration. There are only three steps to a match. In short, a prospective "Big" meets with the BBBS Program Director and Community Match Specialist. Then, a "Big" meets with the parents(s) or guardian(s) of a tentative "Little." Finally, all involved parties, including a "Little," meet to give a proposed "Big" and "Little" a chance to think about their impending match and to express their opinions on whether or not they think it will work.

jpg Big Sister Shannon...

Big Sister Shannon and Little Sister Aleasha share their "meeting of great minds."
Photo by BBBS Staff: Gretchen Klein, Priscilla Barnett, Tracy Arce

It's often said, "Children shall lead the way."

A "Little" might reenergize a much-loved but long-abandoned hobby of a "Big." Since the mind of a "Little" is relatively uncluttered, it's fun to be beside him or her, enjoying fresh ways of looking at the world. A "Big" loves hearing a "Little" say, "And that was a good thing." "Littles" can thrive by being given a chance to lead. And, meanwhile, a "Big" can get a lot of satisfaction and learn so much!

A "Big" is a mentor and friend to a "Little." A "Big," as an encourager, never needs to nag a "Little" about home, school or other chores. Each meeting is just a chance to be together. The bonus for a "Little" is that he or she experiences a one-on-one encounter with a "Big" who has the time to listen. You may hear your "Little" say, "I love meeting with you because there's no rush." A "Little" sets the pace for the activities. A "Big" has no deadlines for specific outcomes, unless, of course, it's a project with a cutoff date. Otherwise, their times together are like the line in the Beetles song, "Whatever will be will be."

jpg Big Brother Mike...

Big Brother Mike and Little Brother Kyle enjoy their
School match on an-end-of-the-year school trip to Shelter Cove.
Photo by BBBS Staff: Gretchen Klein, Priscilla Barnett, Tracy Arce

Goals. A "Big" focuses on a "Little" to improve his or her self-confidence and self-esteem, bolster his or her ego, encourage creativity, offer opportunities that elicit expressions of self-satisfaction, and encourage expressions of "original" ideas. A "Big" has an opportunity to suggest to a "Little" what can be important in life, and any sincere compliments both to a "Little" and his or her parent(s) or guardian may elicit valuable feedback. A "Big" can derive much satisfaction in pursuing these goals and learn so much in the doing. Chances are it's a win/win situation all around.

When a "Big" shows up at a "Little's" school to share lunch, the other children tend to crowd around as they would a storyteller or balloon twister. An apt description of the way the world views a "Big" and the way a "Little" views a "Big": To the World You might be One Person, but to One Person You might be the World.

You can be that "Big" who is viewed by your "Little" as the World.



Nancy Coggins is a Freelance Writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Nancy at ncoggins(AT)

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