Healthy Habits Begin Here!

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Childhood Obesity is a major problem in the United States – just ask Michelle Obama.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities has set out a mission to combat this problem starting right here at home with the youth we serve.  Along with the University of Minnesota Twin Cities School of Nursing, BBBS is set to launch the new Healthy Habits Program. This program, funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Institute, was created to educate local youth on eating healthy and staying active.

There are countless resources in the Twin Cities dedicated to wellness, but many children remain stuck at home due to lack of transportation or the supervision to attend those activities. This is where the Healthy Habits comes in. The program offers both Bigs and Littles a variety of fun, healthy activities where everybody can participate and have a good time, while also ensuring that Littles always have a ride and a chaperone. Along with exercise-based activities, Healthy Habits focuses on making educated food choices. Sessions will be offered to teach matches how to find fresh produce around their community and cook with it at home. To keep active, Healthy Habits will provide sessions at the YMCA to help Littles utilize the programs available in their community. Both types of activities will encourage healthy, long-lasting attitudes toward food and exercise.

This program will kick off October 2016 with events twice a month through October 2017. Matches will be given a “Health Pass” to encourage repeat attendance at Healthy Habits events. When matches attend at least 7 Healthy Habits activities, as noted in their “Health Pass”, they will receive a prize for their efforts. As a part of the Healthy Habits Program, researchers from the UMN School of Nursing will also attend the events and collect valuable data. Their hope is to figure out ways that mentors can better facilitate healthy habits in the lives of their mentees.

We’re looking forward to a very fit and active 2016-2017!

Why you should resolve to be a Big in 2015

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Happy New Year! With 2015 just hours away, you might be thinking about the New Year’s Resolutions you plan to make. This year, why not resolve to do something that will have a real impact? Become a Big in 2015!

Right now, we have nearly 300 kids on our waiting list, hoping to get a new friend and mentor. A Big Brother or Big Sister will transform their world and make a difference that will last a lifetime.

Being a Big is one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to volunteer. It only takes a few hours, a couple times a month, and you’ll spend that time doing something fun with a new buddy.

And if that’s not enough to convince you, then think about the resolutions you were planning to make. Chances are, having a Little will help you make this the year you actually reach them! Whatever you want to accomplish in 2015 – being more active, learning something new, adopting a hobby or getting more involved in your community – there’s a waiting child who wants to do them with you.

So what are you waiting for? Change a child’s life in 2015, and you just might change your own. Click here to take the first step >

PS. Our biggest need is for Big Brothers. Young men in our community need role models and mentors, today more than ever. Nearly 2/3 of the children on our waiting list are boys, but the vast majority of our volunteer inquiries come from women. This imbalance means that boys may spend a year or more waiting to be matched – time that could be better spent learning, talking and having fun with a Big Brother. Please encourage the men you know to become Bigs!

DIY Halloween Costumes, Snacks and Crafts

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Leaves are crunching underfoot, there’s a chill in the air, and jack-o-lanterns are decorating stoops across the cities… Halloween is right around the corner! We’ve got a few ideas for spooky fun to get you and your Little into the Halloween spirit.

1. Mini Donut Spiders

Mini donut spider

This creepy crawly snack is easy to assemble and doesn’t require much prep work. You’ll need large pretzel twists, mini donuts, plain M&Ms, and a little frosting or melted chocolate. Get the complete instructions here.

2. Cardboard and Paper Masks

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You don’t have to spend a lot to impress everyone at your next costume party. With a few old boxes or paper plates, plus markers and glue, you can design and build a mask for any creature you imagine! For a little inspiration, check out these tutorials.

3. Slime!

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Let’s be honest – this oozy, gooey, make-at-home project is fun at any time of year. But Halloween is a great excuse to get slimy! Classic slime is just a mixture of borax and glue – but here are lots of recipes to try.

4. Skull Potato Stamp

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Try your hand at printmaking this Halloween! Use this template for a skull stamp to decorate your t-shirt, a paper sign, treat bags, or anything else you choose. You can also get creative and design your own stamp. All you’ll need is a potato, a cutting utensil, paint and a place to stamp. (Littles may need help carving their potato. Please be careful!)


What will your match do to celebrate Halloween? Tell us in the comments!