Thanks to a scheduling change, I went to my interview for Big Brothers Big Sisters yesterday, instead of at the end of the month. This was really great, because now I can get matched up with a "Little" a lot faster.
I really like the girl who is in charge of interviewing new "Bigs". She's about my age and seems really cool. I would like to go grab coffee with her, actually. I am wondering if she can hang out with Bigs outside of the program or not...it's hard to find new girlfriends, you know? Now I'm getting off-track. Shocker, I know. Anyway.
So the interview takes about 2 hours, because they have to ask you all sorts of questions about your family, your past, your use of drugs/alcohol, whether or not you own guns, your pets, your living situation, your sexuality, what you hope to get out of volunteering for them, what kind of a "Little" you want, etc.
It was all going well, until I embarrassed the crap out of myself.
Interviewer: So, tell me what kinds of activities you'd do at your house when your Little comes over.
VB: Ooh! I made a list, but I left it on my desk at work. Let's see....cooking, baking, reading -- I like to read books to kids -- coloring, playing with my dog, I could help them with their homework, board games, we could play cards, arts and crafts...we could watch movies together. *I paused, thinking for a second* Actually, now that I think about it, all my DVDs are mostly adult movies, so that might not be a good idea....I MEAN!!! OMG!! No, not that kind of adult movie! I meant like, you know, PG-13 or R rated movies!! OMG!! *I turn beet red and look at my lap*
Interviewer: *laughing at me* No, it's ok. I know what you mean.
VB: Because just for the record, I don't have ANY movies like that at my house! None! Zero! And even if I did, they are NOT appropriate for children!
Anyway, I was so mortified that I said that, I was fidgety and nervous for the rest of the interview! Ugh. *rolls eyes*
I think I made up for it later on in the interview, though:
Interviewer: If you were to look back on your experience volunteering for us, years from now, what would you hope you had accomplished in the life of your Little?
VB: I would hope that I showed her how to be more confident, to believe in herself, to reach for her goals......and to think for herself. To be an independent and confident girl. That's what I would hope to do.
Interviewer: Wow! I don't think anyone has ever said that to me! Usually people just say that they hope their Little had fun. And that's about it. I am so glad you feel like that!
(YESSS! Go me!)
It's pretty hard to answer all of these questions without emptying your closet of some skeletons. They ask you about drug use, sex, family issues, any abuse you've had, how you deal with personal problems, etc. I confessed to smoking pot a few times in college. I told her about the deaths in my family (I tried hard not to cry, but I needed a kleenex!) and all the alcoholism in my family. All the stuff like that. Luckily, I don't have any major skeletons, so it wasn't too bad-- I'm a pretty open person, as I'm sure you all know. Just kind of strange to sit down and tell a total stranger everything that's personal about you, from childhood up to today. All in one go. Face to face.
At the time, it didn't feel weird, but when I left and got back in my car, I thought, "OMG! I just told that girl EVERYTHING AT ONCE." And I felt kind of vulnerable. And freakish.
For about 10 minutes. Then, I got over it. (This is so typically me! I don't think I have ever truly regretted being an open book!)
The whole interview went really well, and she told me that she really liked my attitude and thought I had very realistic expectations for the relationship I would build with my "Little". She also liked all the experience I've had hanging out with kids of various ages. Between being a former middle/high school teacher and reading stories to kids as young as 2 at the library, I have experience hanging out with kids of all ages, and I don't really have a preference for any particular age group. She said I'd be easy to match up with a Little. YESSSS!!!!
She told me what her "typical" Littles were like. A lot of them are from single-mother homes, in kind of bad neighborhoods. The mothers don't let their kids outside the house, because there's so much crime and gang activity. So these poor kids are cooped up inside all the time, watching tv. They just need an outlet. A way to escape that. She said a lot of kids have been in homes where there was domestic violence in the past, or even drug use. But the families are not allowed to enter the program if there is currently any evidence of violence, crime, drug abuse or abuse going on in the home. (So I don't have to worry about my safety, which is good.)
She told me some REALLY sad stories about some of her tough cases. I think she was trying to gauge how well I could handle kids like that. One girl has dealt with every single kind of abuse under the sun, courtesy of her own father, and she's doing drugs and alcohol, and her mother is enabling her and she is cutting herself. WOW. Another family is dealing with the fact that the father is on death row. Another girl has been dealing with sexual identity issues, and she just found out she's pregnant. WOW.
But these are extreme and rare cases. Most of the kids are in a situation where the parents want their kids to have an outlet that is safe and fun, so that they don't get into trouble. Most of the kids come from happy, single-parent homes, where the mother works a LOT.
I told the interviewer that I didn't know if I could handle the extreme stuff or not. Maybe I can, maybe I can't, I honestly don't know, because I have no experience with that type of stuff. This isn't the answer she wanted to hear, I'm sure, but I honestly don't know if I would know what to do in those situations. I told her I'd want to have some kind of training/debriefing for that. And that I'd probably just start crying and tell the kid they can come live at my house! LOL
I told her that I have been casually encouraging CN to volunteer for them, too. Most of the kids who come to BBBS are boys, because their single mothers want them to have a good male role model in their lives. She seemed to appreciate that I've been trying to recruit Big Brothers! And if any of my male readers are interested in volunteering for their local BBBS, I'm sure it would be appreciated!!! Hint hint!!
So that's it for now. It will take at least a month until she can begin matching me up with anyone. They do two background checks on me, so it takes a while. But I am so excited!!! I can't wait!!!