Big Brothers Big Sisters Updated Proposal

I have narrowed the scope of my project since I posted my original proposal.  Rather than looking at both All Together and Big Brothers Big Sisters in Williamsburg, I now hope to focus solely on the latter. I realized that, while All Together is a great organization that works to improve race and cultural relations in Williamsburg, it is more adult-related.  Since the topic of this course is youth, I figured that I should just more deeply investigate the Williamsburg chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters which aims to mentor children and help them “realize their potential and build their futures.”  I still want to look at how this organization addresses the problem of youth marginalized by poverty. I also hope to do some more research on the effects of marginalization and look at how Big Brothers Big Sisters tries to minimize these repercussions.

I have compared Williamsburg and the state of Virginia Census information to get a better idea about where Williamsburg stands as far as socioeconomic disparity and poverty.  There is also a great website called www.richblockspoorblocks.com which is “a map of income and rent in every neighborhood in every city in America.”  This fascinating, pictoral representation of statistics has really helped me put isolated poverty into perspective, especially in the Williamsburg area.  On this map, you can zoom in far enough to see specific Census districts, which correlate with certain neighborhoods in the area.  This would be really helpful to use for my research if I find areas where poverty is concentrated and to look at areas where Littles and Bigs may be concentrated.   I hope to use this information as background for my research done with Big Brothers Big Sisters.  I have also gathered a couple articles about poverty in Williamsburg and Big Brothers Big Sisters that I hope to go through over Spring Break.  One article that Professor Glosson showed me has fascinating comments from residents at the bottom.  I have not looked at these extensively, but I hope that they will give me a good idea about how Williamsburg residents perceive the poverty problem.  I will also look for more when I am at home with more time to devote to the research process.

I plan to go to the Big Brothers Big Sisters office on friday to gather any pamphlets or materials that could be helpful to me in preliminary research about the organization.  Its website is full of information and I hope to be able to peruse it more over spring break.  I am working on setting up a meeting with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Williamsburg Program Manager, and I have also asked her if she has any recommendations of other people to contact.  I am very excited to meet and possibly record an interview with the Program Manager so I can learn more about how, if at all, the Williamsburg chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters tailors the program to the specific needs of Williamsburg.  I would also like to find out more specifically which problems the program and Bigs aim to address the most and how they go about doing this. I also wonder if any of the Bigs or Littles happen to be isolated into certain geographic areas.  I would really like to interview a Big and a Little together to look at the dynamics of their relationships and to get a more personal idea about what the program provides for both the Bigs and Littles. I would also love to find someone in the area who was a Little growing up and interview him or her about their experience. I have found that some other resources in my initial bibliography may not be very useful to me, but I hope that the majority of my research will come from interviews and personal interactions anyway.


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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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