Bnos One on One: Off to a Great Start

Shabbos afternoons with fun and friends. Exciting games and spirited group leaders. Motzoei Shabbos events and activities.  All under one umbrella — Bnos Agudas Yisroel. For over 70 years, Bnos has been committed to providing wonderful experiences for our daughters in line with the highest Torah values that Agudas Yisroel is known for. And while Bnos Agudas Yisroel’s values never change, the efforts to improve and expand the program means that Bnos is ever-evolving.

Introducing: Bnos-One-on-One Big and Little Sisters, the most recent addition to Bnos’ impressive program lineup. The program, funded since its inception in 2012 by the Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES, has now grown to include over 60 schools and over 600 girls. Participants are grouped in pairs, comprised of one Little Sister (usually in 6th through 8th grade), and her fellow Big Sister (from 11th grade through post-seminary age). Every pair gets together once a week throughout the year. They spend their time absorbed in a fun activity of their choice, or they just relax, schmooze, and enjoy each other’s company.

In today’s fast paced society, time set aside for socializing and fun is becoming increasingly rare. The sit-down dinners that most of us enjoyed growing up are becoming the exception instead of the norm as families try to adapt to full and varied schedules. It is in this climate that Bnos One-on-One steps in, promoting ‘wholesome fun in a wholesome environment.’  For one magical hour every week, Little Sisters in the metropolitan area can count on the undivided personal attention of an older friend, One-on-One rain or shine.

In addition to the weekly get-togethers, the program organizers work hard year-round to produce exciting and innovative activities. Motzoei Shabbos Big and Little Sister events, crafting workshops and Purim Chagigos all serve to cement the many facets and participants of this program into a cohesive whole.   Bnos One on One successfully combines its unique program flexibility and the one-on-one individual attention that the Big and Little Sister is known for, with the strength in numbers and the Achdus (unity) and group spirit that can be found in the Shabbos Bnos program.

With a commitment to excellence right from the start, prior to their first meeting with their Little Sisters, Bnos invites all Big Sisters to a professional training workshop delivered by experienced, prominent individuals in the Chinuch and Human Services arena. This informative session explains the goals and methods of the program and describes common situations that the Big Sisters will encounter in the time they spend together with their new-found ‘sibling’s, allowing plenty of time for the presenter to answer any questions the girls may have. In addition, every community has an adult coordinator who serves as a liaison between the parents of the Little Sister and her Big Sister, ensuring the smooth progress of each individual pair. Coordinators act as guides while simultaneously functioning as the general facilitators of the program.

Those who participate in this program benefit tremendously in many ways. Parents of Big and Little Sisters are absolutely thrilled with the program, and the participating schools are extraordinarily delighted and impressed as well. The Little Sisters thrive thanks to their warm, constructive friendship with an older student. The Big Sisters have an opportunity to use their leadership and creative skills to connect with a younger girl. They have an opportunity to become a real role model and inspiration to their Little Sisters. The growth, development, maturity, and chizuk that evolve from this program is amazing. Both hold onto warm memories of time well spent and a budding relationship to treasure.  . . .

“We are very excited by the growth and impact of this incredibly effective undertaking,” says Chana Baila Hass, Director of Bnos Agudath Israel of America, “and now with the new grant that we have received from the Covenant Foundation we look forward to growing Bnos One on One to a national and even international program which will have a positive impact on the next generation of Klal Yisroel.”

For more information about the Bnos-One-on-One Program in your area, please contact the Bnos Agudas Yisroel office at 212-797-9000 ext. 273