Food Bank Serves over 18,000 Meals in the North County this Summer

Virginia Peterson_smGood nutrition is essential for effective learning every day, all year long. Just as learning does not end when school lets out, neither does the need for good nutrition. must! charities collaborated with the Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County to take a small & proven meals program to virtually every eligible child in the north county. With the partnership of other local non-profits that serve these children, we are providing healthy meals and snacks in their own neighborhoods. As a mobile project, we reach the most remote places in our county.


Drum roll…in the North County, over 18,000 breakfasts, lunches, and snacks were served this summer!  Thank YOU to making this possible!

First Blind Date

becky_grayI survived my first blind date – Match Meeting Success by Becky

It was an afternoon scheduled time and hot as heck outside (95 degrees to be exact). We met at the Big Brothers Big Sister’s office in Paso. My potential little sister had a brother who was also being matched the same day.

I arrived a few minutes early, as I definitely didn’t want to show up late. I was already sweating from being nervous, but then add the heat factor and I wished I had an extra deodorant stick in my car… (I sweat – might be TMI for some of you, but it’s the honest truth).

She walked in with her mom and brother and was all smiles. I instantly felt a connection and I knew we would hit it off. We were both nervous. Tatiana from big brothers big sisters was great. She had us do a simple icebreaker game, and then came the rules and regulations that were read to us. We signed some waivers and finally I got to sit down with my little and chat… We chose a spot on the floor and began making a list of things we could do together with our time. I brought a little journal and pen so she could write our ideas down – we’ll call it our little wish journal. She jotted down ‘1. arts & crafts, 2. Go get ice-cream, 3. Go swimming at my house’ (once she found out I had a pool, her eyes lit up! She loves to swim). She had many questions about how big the pool was, how deep it was (btw she can swim in 9 feet of water and her friends can’t believe it when she does!), if my dogs like to swim, and the questions went on and on.

It was time for our first meeting to come to an end and I let her choose what she wanted to do the next time we met. She smiled at me and took her pen and circled #3 with a big smile. Yes… swimming at my place. So, we put it on the calendar a swim afternoon at our house. I asked her what snacks she would like, since swimming will make us hungry. She determined a frozen pepperoni pizza (she likes the California Pizza Kitchen kind). Done. The date is set and I can guarantee we will be cooking up that frozen pepperoni pizza to enjoy poolside.

Happy Match Story: Owen and Sam

A Happy Match Story shared by Big Brothers Big Sisters

Little Brother Owen knows how lucky he is to have two loving parents at home, because he almost lost one. Last year, Dad was partially paralyzed in a bicycle accident and has serious, costly, on-going health complications. After caring for his father and baby sister every day, Mom rarely has much energy or attention left to share with Owen. She hoped enrolling him in our program would give him a chance to get out of the house and take his mind off the medical, financial and emotional stresses at home.

Picture1Big Sister Sam has done more than take Owen’s mind off the hard stuff in his life, she has helped direct Owen’s thoughts toward his own bright future. This 10-year-old who hopes to be “an astronaut and an artist” when he grows up, is learning how to use a telescope, mix paint colors, understand the periodic table and draw using perspective…all skills that will help him pursue his dream careers one day in the future. But sometime, Owen and Sam just focus on having fun here and now by exploring the neighborhood together, which is easier since Sam helped Owen overcome his understandable fears and learn how to ride a bike!

Happy Match Story – Big Brothers Big Sisters

Most boys join our programs seeking a male role model, but Little Brother Aidan, a bilingual 8-year old with a single-mom, specifically asked to be introduced to a Big Sister instead. He described his ideal mentor as someone who would enjoy soccer and maybe help him learn to play the piano. He asked that he NOT be matched with an adult who was “attached to her phone.” Big Sister Melissa, a Spanish-speaking, piano-playing, long distance runner seemed like a perfect fit!

image010Aidan and Melissa have now been matched 3 months and are having a great time exploring the county together. Big Sister Melissa says, “We have a great time and I’m so lucky to have been matched with such a great kid!” Aidan’s mom calls it “a perfect match.” SLO Bigs staff especially appreciates this pair for their level of engagement with the agency. They participated in media interviews which resulted in a great story in the Paso Robles Magazine in April. They have taken and shared numerous photos from their various activities. And, they volunteered at the Big Event together! There is no doubt that this Little Brother is not only gaining the skills and attitudes that will help him have a bright future…he is also learning how to give back to the community and help other kids have a brighter future too!