Taking the virtual pitch as Slovenia, Chino Pérez is playing for Tacoma Defiance and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Puget Sound. On the sticks for a cause raises the importance of the USL FIFA eCup for the midfielder. He’s also trying to chase the success of captain Josh Atencio, who took 4th place (out of 32) in the Rocket League version of the league’s digital tournament.
Like so many other organizations focused on mentorship and education Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BBBSPS) shifted their focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Person-to-person mentorship is difficult while being socially distant.
Focused on youth in need, BBBS of Puget Sound are intimately connected with the region’s food crisis. During the pandemic, they created free Fresh Markets so that youth and families in need are provided with 12 meals for a family of four. CEO Big Brothers Big Sisters Puget Sound, Paula Sardinas wanted to find ways to help beyond BBBSPS’s traditional role.
“Along with shifting our mentoring programs online to continue the critical existing mentoring relationships, we are creating new ways to respond to the needs during this global pandemic through the provision of food, supplies, and resources through both direct home delivery and satellite distribution partnerships. We are committed to being there for our families during these difficult times.”
If you have spare time and even the tiniest bit of tech savvy, BBBSPS will virtually match you with a new mentee. And then, using whatever tech works best. Some mentors and mentees are using games, video calls, or standard phone to connect with kids in need of companionship.
There are new challenges in the time of COVID-19. Relationships between the organization, the families, the mentors, and mentees create a network of strength for people who may lack it. Being connected while physically distant is key.
“My number one priority was to make sure our moms and families knew that we were here with them during this challenging time. Big Brothers Big Sisters are committed to staying connected with each one of our families.”
Pérez will continue to wear the greens of Slovenia (and fittingly of Puget Sound) to raise awareness for Big Brothers Big Sisters while the organization keeps connected and committed to helping families in need in Tacoma and throughout Puget Sound.
About Tacoma Defiance
Tacoma Defiance is the USL Championship affiliate of reigning MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders FC. You can follow The Future of Champions on Twitter (@TACDefiance), Facebook, and Instagram (@tacdefiance). We are #DefiantlyTacoma.
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More information on social distancing and how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 can be found at Tacoma-Pierce County Health. The most up-to-date information on how COVID-19 is affecting events at Cheney Stadium can be found here.