Saturday was a great day! It started with a shift as boat host on the ARTHUR FOSS for NW Seaport. The sky was clear blue and the temperature was perfect for me. In my two hour shift we had 30 people come and tour the boat. I’m really looking forward to my shift this coming Saturday as the Lake Union Park Grand Opening is earlier in the week and there should be lots of activity next weekend.

Next [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I went to look at rental in South Seattle. While it wasn’t a bad place it was too far to commute every day for a rental. Also there was a “For Sale” sign in the yard and I’m not comfortable renting a place that’s for sale.

After that I had to run home to shower and change so that [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast could take me to the Cirque du Soleil show Corteo. Wow, what an amazing show. It was beautiful and impressive. [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast and I had a lot of fun talking and turning heads in the crowd. My favorite was the guy who agreed with me that it was ok to be a kept man. His wife didn’t look like she agreed though.

Once the show was done we went and picked up [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen who was stunning. She had hours to get dressed and she used them to great advantage. We went out to dinner and they sat across from me. A feast for the eyes, body and soul. Lucky me!

On Sunday I picked up $little and we went to see The Forbidden Kingdom (2008). I enjoyed the movie and if you’re a fan of wushu, particularly wuxia, films you will too. I don’t think the TFK has much general appeal but if you enjoyed Hero (2002), Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) or Iron Monkey (1993) you should check it out. The Forbidden Kingdom is closest to Iron Monkey in action and content.

After the movie I met [livejournal.com profile] sirraimnis, [livejournal.com profile] ogremarco and [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen at Three Lions Pub. It was great to talk and visit for a bit before [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and I had to leave to go shopping. We both agree that we need to spend more time with them and introduce them to Coupling. The rest of the evening was pretty miserable as I was having a bad time with my health.

hollyking: (ahead full)

Tonight I received the greatest compliment I have ever been given. $little and I went to the Tugboat Night on the ARTHUR FOSS. We got to start the engine, turn the manual and pneumatic assisted wheels, watch the radar and generally play around on the boat.

On the way home he asked me how long we would be matched. I reminded him of the agreement we both signed that said we promised to stay together for a year. Then I told him that it didn't have to end after a year. We could stay matched for many years and could continue to be friends once he was too old to participate in the program anymore. He thought about that a bit and then said that he liked that because I was perfect and he wanted to keep spending time together.

Good thing it was dark in the car.

On President’s Day I’m going to Olympia as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Advocacy Day. We’ll be spending time with the legislators and staff that represent each of our districts and urging them to support programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters.

I live in Washington’s 48th Legislative District. My senator is Rodney Tom and my representatives are Ross Hunter and Deborah Eddy. Honestly, I don’t know much about any of them but I’m going to spend some time in the coming weeks to find out more about all of them.

This should be an interesting day.

An Odyssey

Nov. 17th, 2007 08:21 pm

Today $little and I went to Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center. We had a great time! I had been before but this was his first trip and he was bouncing around to check out all the displays. Score another win for me!

We talked a bit about amateur radio and he's interested in learning more about it. Now to figure out something we can do together. I know about Kid's Day but that's not until January. I bet I can get in touch with another local amateur and setup a time to chat on the repeater. I should also send off an email to the leaders of the Lake Washington high school amateur radio club and ask them for some suggestions. This isn't that bad of a problem to have.

hollyking: (us)

Today was a good day. First I made bacon for [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast, [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and myself. Bacon good!

Next I went to play with my Little Brother for our weekly outing. We spent the time rocking out on Guitar Hero III. We played the co-operative career mode and were doing really well. He's gotten a lot better since we started playing. It won't be long before he starts to pass me I think.

Then we come to the highlight of the day. [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen found this intriguing store called Magic Mouse Toys. So we had to go check it out. Oh! My! Goodness! This is a fantastic toy store! We will have to go again when we have much more money and time. It was two stories of toys, games, puzzles and fun things.

Elliott Bay Book Co. is only a few blocks away from the toy store and since I had never been we had to go. [livejournal.com profile] hollyking like! I was tempted by so many books but I was able to resist all but a copy of The Jefferson Bible. So many good books I need to read.

Next weekend we're going to have to go back down to Pioneer Square. This time however, we'll go a lot earlier in the day so that we can check out a lot more shops. Because of the late hour this time we missed such places as the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Who knows what else lurks in the corners?

Big Brothers Big Sisters of King, Pierce & Jefferson Counties (BBBS) is holding an event to raise money for their program. The details are:

Who:
Your friends, family and co-workers.
What:
A fun day of bowling and plenty of funds raised to support one-on-one mentoring in your community.
When & Where:
The 2007 Bowl for Kids’ Sake Event will be held November 10th at West Seattle Bowl from 1pm to 5pm.
Why:
Bowl for Kids’ Sake is about having fun to help kids. Funds raised go directly toward matching children with caring Big Brother and Big Sister volunteers. It only takes $1,000 to recruit, enroll and support a match for one year.
Prizes:
2 Roundtrip Airline Tickets for any individual who raises over $1000.
Other Prizes will be awarded for:
  • Best Dressed
  • Best Team Theme
  • Most Money Raised - Team
  • Most Money Raised - Individual
  • ...and many more!

Does anyone want to form a team to raise money and bowl for a good cause?

I haven’t posted an update for a while so I thought it was time to share a bit more of my experiences being a Big Brother. I have tagged all the posts if you want to read them all.

The first meeting between a Big Brother and Little Brother includes the Match Support Specialist (MSS) and the Little’s parents and it takes place in the Little’s home. While the first meeting isn’t very formal there are a few things the MSS do at the beginning. The primary one is to go over and sign the Match Agreement. The agreement outlines the basic roles and responsibilities for everyone involved in the match. While it covers pretty basic stuff I think it’s a good plan to make sure that we all went over the information so that we all started with a common understanding.

Our MSS also gave me and Little each a t-shirt and a quiz to learn more about each other. He also gave me a list of activities, a discount card to use and an insurance card for Little. Mom and I also exchanged contact information and a card with emergency contact and health information. The BBBS has health insurance coverage for all Littles when they are involved in an activity with their Bigs.

After all the paperwork was done the MSS left as his part was finished. For a first meeting I could have been finished as well. However I had scheduled more time so it was a perfect opportunity to get to know Little a little better. Little certainly isn’t shy or reserved. He was going a mile a minute to show me his comic books, video games and trading cards. It turns out we are a good match because we like the same games, cartoons and movies.

Little and I are having our third outing tonight. This time it’s PS2 games again where we’ll rock out to some Guitar Hero, shred the powder on SSX3 and hopefully race around the islands in Crash Team Racing. ;)

A Match!

Aug. 14th, 2007 04:03 pm

If you are interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister I found the process quite simple. Everyone at BBBS has been very helpful and made the entire process quite easy. The steps to become one are:

  1. Inquire. Inquire today to speak with a Customer Relations Specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters. I went online and filled out the form with my contact information.

  2. Apply. After you inquire online, a Customer Relations Specialist will contact you to complete the application offline. After a few hours of filling out the online form a Customer Relations Specialist contacted me. He offered to answer any questions I had and then went to setup my interview. He also sent out the application paperwork and an information packet.

  3. Interview. An Enrollment & Match Specialist (EMS) will interview you in person. I was nervous about the interview but it was the easiest part of the whole process. The Enrollment & Match Specialist and I sat down and filled out all the required forms first. Then she asked me questions about me and my history and gave me a chance to ask any questions I had. I was unsure on what boxes to check on some of the forms and she helped me get everything in line. She also spent some time telling me what to expect and shared some of her experiences as a Big Sister.

  4. Background Check. Child safety is our priority, so we’ll review your records to ensure you’ll be a good fit for our program. And review my records they did. The only snag in the background check was because I’ve only lived in Washington for a year and they needed at least two years of driving records. So my Enrollment & Match Specialist mailed me the necessary forms which I filled out and sent off to Oregon. The background check was the longest part of this entire process for me. Not that I wasn’t prepared for a wait, state agencies aren’t known for being speedy.

  5. References. You’ll need to provide at least three references of people who can attest to your ability to be a mentor. This wasn’t difficult. One of the references had to be my supervisor who had worked with me for at least a year. My boss was happy to provide a reference and he’s been very supportive. The other two references had to people not living with me, who I had known a year and had seen me interacting with children. [livejournal.com profile] jamee13 and [livejournal.com profile] qt3_14159 jumped at the chance to provide references. I’m still blushing from what they wrote. I also have to thank [livejournal.com profile] dreamingcrow for offering to provide a reference. My Enrollment & Match Specialist also interviewed [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast because we share the apartment.

  6. Matching. We will review the kids in your area who need a Big Brother or Big Sister and find the best fit for you. Depending on your gender and the kind of child you’d like to work with, matching may go very quickly or take some time. Making the right match is important to our commitment to form lasting relationships. I have no idea about how long it takes to make a match on average but for me it didn’t take any time at all. I’ve already been matched with a Little Brother and we’ll meet for the first time next week.

I want to cover the matching part of the process a little bit more. For myself it was the biggest area of mystery about the whole thing. As her title suggests the EMS interviews the Bigs and the Littles and finds a matching pair. The following steps are followed to make a match:

  1. The EMS introduces the Little to the Big and and shares some information about him. The Big then makes the decision to go ahead with the match or not.

  2. The EMS then introduces the Big to the Little’s parents. They are given information about the Big and his background. The parents then make the decision to move ahead with the match or not.

  3. The EMS finally sets up the initial meeting between the Big and the Little and their family. At this point the EMS moves to the background and the Match Support Specialist (MSS) enters the picture. The MSS goes to the initial meeting and supports the Big and Little during their match.

With a match in mind my EMS called me and told me about the Little she had matched with me. I learned about his hobbies, family life, school and what he wished for in a Big. We talked about how the two of us matched and what we had in common. It sounded like a good match to me and I gave the go ahead for the next step. The Little’s parents agreed as well so now I have an appointment setup for our first meeting.

Passed!

Aug. 13th, 2007 01:57 pm
hollyking: (ahead full)

I just received this email from my Enrollment Specialist at Big Brothers and Big Sisters:

We received the Oregon drive check and I would like to officially congratulate you on your acceptance into the Big Brothers Big Sisters program! We are lucky to have quality volunteers, such as you, associated with our program. We are confident that a Little will benefit greatly from being matched with you.

Our program has a phenomenal success rate. By becoming a Big in our program you will have the opportunity to help a child develop self-esteem and pursue interests that the two of you have in common. With the combination of these elements, you may be the person that makes the difference in your Littleā€™s life that inspires them to pursue their goals… whatever they may be.

In addition, children who are matched with Bigs are proven to make healthier life decisions. For example, the children matched in our program are less likely to skip school, less likely to begin using illegal drugs and alcohol, and have improved relationships with their families. Moreover, we are willing to bet that you will be surprised by how much you gain from the relationship with your Little!

The next time you hear from us will likely be to propose a Little. In the meantime, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

I want to thank everyone who provided references and support. It means a lot to me.

hollyking: (ahead full)

Yesterday J, my Enrollment and Match Specialist, called [livejournal.com profile] hollyqueen and [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast to check my references and ask about me and life in our apartment. I was giving [livejournal.com profile] cheesentoast a ride home from work during her call and I was good and didn’t yell out “She’s not just saying that because I’m sitting right next to her.” It was very tempting though…

I have filled out all the forms. I have my checkbook. I have my references in line. The proof of insurance form is in the car. Now to just wait three more hours…

You see, today is my screening interview for [Big Brothers/Big Sisters][bbs]. I’ll be meeting with my “Enrollment and Match Specialist” so they can get to know me and learn about my interests. It’s their job to match me with a Little and the more they know about me the better the match will be.

I find myself a little nervous even though I know I don’t have anything to worry about. I’ve seen two of the reports from my references and I’m pretty positive the third reference is going to give me the thumbs up. I have a clean record, so I really don’t have any reason to think that I won’t be selected. Still, I can’t shake these feelings.

I have talked a bit about this with the folks who’ve asked me in person, but I’m curious to know if anyone reading this would want to know more about the process. In case you do, here’s some information about the four people I will interact with as a Big:

Customer Relations Specialist
Provides an in-depth introduction to my role as a volunteer, assists me during the application process, and schedules the interview.
Enrollment and Match Specialist
Conducts my interview and works to find the best Big and Little match.
Match Support Specialist
My primary contact during the match and will provide resources and support.
Activities Co-ordinator
Sends out a monthly activities calendar with a listing of agency activities and ideas for Community Based participants.
hollyking: (ahead full)

I’ve decided to volunteer as a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of King, Pierce & Jefferson Counties. I thought I had all my references lined up but reading the application two of them are ineligible as they live with me.

So I’m looking for two more people who:

  1. Have known me for at least one year.
  2. Have observed my interactions with children.

The problem is while I know lots of people who’ve known me for at least one year I can only think of three who’ve seen my interactions with children and two of them live with me.

Is there anyone reading this who meets those guidelines and who is willing to be a reference for me? Please.

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