A couple of years ago I applied for a Big Brother Big Sister program in my local area. They promptly ran out of funding before I finished the interview process, and that was that.
Last week they gave me a call – hello Inga, we have your records on file as well as actual money, would you still consider volunteering?
I’m still not 100% sure what the deal is with BBBS, but from what I understand they match ‘vulnerable’ young people with a mentor who supposedly shares random wisdom, hangs out with them, and generally makes them feel good about themselves without committing inappropriate acts of sexual misconduct.
I had my first ‘interview’ yesterday, which was basically questions like “Why does a 28 year old woman want to hang out with young children you SICK FREAK?!” No, it wasn’t really like that. There was “what was your favourite thing about high school?” and “describe a time when you’ve been tested by a young person?”. Now I have to obtain a police check, a working with children check, and undergo psychological profiling. Then they come to your house, chat to you, and make sure you don’t have a meth lab in the laundry or a rape dungeon in the spare room. Then there’s an online study course, face-to-face training, and if all goes well they’ll find one lucky ‘vulnerable’ young person I can foist myself onto.
I’ve stated my minion preference as 12 and above. I don’t have anything against small children (when they’re not crapping everywhere), but I remember what being a teenager was like, and it was ghastly. And that was with great friends, basic social intellect and ace parents. I’d hate to imagine what teenage-hood would be like lacking even one of those factors. Hopefully, I can lend an oar to some poor chick navigating the shit creek that is female pubescence. At the very least, I can give them tequila.
It’s all mildly daunting, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m not sure a teenage girl in 2011 would have anything to learn from my haphazard, half-arsed drunken lifestyle, and I seriously doubt my ability to convey any pertinent life advice. But I sure as hell can slap a kid on the back and say “girl, you think life is arse now? Wait until you have to keep a roof over your head, file tax returns and punch people who ask why you haven’t ‘settled down’ yet. Pimples and cyber bulling ain’t got nothing on real life.”