The Importance of Bilingual Bigs

Habla Espanolby Cynthia Rodriguez, Enrollment Specialist

We are fortunate to have amazing Bigs who bring diverse skills and talents to each of their matches. These assets help create long-lasting, meaningful friendships between Littles and Bigs. One especially important skill that Volunteers bring to a match is a fluency in Spanish.

Forty-six percent of all Littles who apply to be in the program are Hispanic — and a large portion of them come from a home where Spanish is spoken as the primary language.

Although the majority of our Littles are bilingual, many of their parents are not, which creates a significant need for Spanish-speaking Bigs.

Matches can definitely flourish and be successful even when a Big does not speak Spanish. However, bilingualism can benefit a match in a number of ways:

  • First, it helps take a Little off the wait list! Many of our Littles who come from Spanish-speaking homes wait for longer periods of time (sometimes years) to be matched. A Spanish-speaking Big helps increase the likelihood that these Littles will be matched sooner.
  • Second, it allows a Volunteer to connect with a Little’s parent or guardian on a more personal level. Even a conversational grasp of the language can help develop your relationship with a parent, which strengthens your match in multiple ways.
  • Lastly, it provides Bigs and Little with the opportunity to participate in a wider range of activities during outings. Develop your relationship with your Little (and improve your Spanish!) by taking a “Yoga en Español” class, watching a Spanish language movie together, or attending a bilingual play.

Interested in becoming a mentor bilingüe? Apply online or call us at 512.442.4646 to learn more about how you can be the Big Brother or Big Sister that will make a difference in the life of a child.

5 thoughts on “The Importance of Bilingual Bigs

  1. I absolutely loved this article- and agree wholeheartedly! My little sister’s family is predominately Spanish speaking, and I would love to be able to communicate with them with more ease. I have been researching Spanish classes around the Austin area, but was wondering if BBBS sponsored/was affiliated with any language support?

    • Hi Reagan, thanks for the comment — and that’s so great that you’re inspired to learn a new language! We’re not affiliated with any language support at the moment, unfortunately. That said, please do remember that you can lean on your Match Support Specialist for support or translation when necessary. Let us know if we can help with anything and thanks so much for all you do for your Little Sister!

  2. Pingback: National Mentoring Month: celebrating everyday heroes | Big Brothers Big Sisters Blog

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