Staff Spotlight: Maureen Ruscio, Match Support Coordinator
There are many moving parts here at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay that contribute to the success of our matches. None of the work we do would be possible without the collaborative effort of each department, however, many of our matches are likely most familiar with their professionally trained Match Support Coordinators. Their routine check-ins with Bigs, Littles, and their families help each match reach their full potential. In order to effectively serve every match, we have full-time and part-time Coordinators who work in the office and at home. This week, we spoke with Maureen Ruscio—part-time, Match Support Coordinator at BBBSMB + full-time mommy and wife at home—about her experiences as a remote staff member.
Tell me about your background before coming to BBBSMB.
At Children’s Hospital Boston, I was a Resource Specialist in Cardiology until 2011 when I left my job once my first child was born. I still volunteer my time with an outside organization “It’s My Heart New England,” so I have remained closely linked to many of the families I worked with at Children’s. Prior to that I was a program manager at Goodwill that did job training for adults with disabilities.
Why were you attracted to BBBSMB as a place to work?
I was previously a Big Sister for 4 years. It’s an organization that I always thought highly of, appreciate the work they do and would absolutely want to work for.
Match Meeting with Little Sister Teasha in 2005
What was your experience like as a Big? How does it influence your work?
I loved being a Big. I got to do some really fun things with my Little Sister that you maybe would not normally do in your 20’s. I also loved seeing her change and grow up. Due to my experience as a Big, I often feel like I tend to side with my Bigs, so sometimes I need to talk a situation through with my colleagues to see both sides of the story. They are always available to lend an ear and offer support!
What advice would you give to someone thinking about becoming a Big?
If you are considering it, go for it! It’s a lot more than the impact you have on your Little but it is the impact your Little has on you. Sometimes scheduling can be difficult and challenging, but it always works out. These are memories you will always carry with you.
What drew you to the Match Support role? How has your past work experience helped you in this role?
Match Support was hiring for a remote, work from home position which was a great opportunity for me as a stay-at-home Mom. I loved the opportunity to work closely with the Big and Little matches and support them. I have worked with people in need of services in various settings so the prospect to return to work in this role was the perfect opportunity for me.
You work primarily from a remote location. What is that like for you? How did the remote design of the job influence your decision to join BBBSMB?
Working remote can be challenging because you can feel a disconnect from the office at times. There is something about being connected with your colleagues both personally and professionally that makes the job fulfilling. But that’s why I enjoy the opportunity to attend various events when my schedule allows. Any email I send or event I attend everyone is so responsive and welcoming. It is a very supportive community.
The remote design, although has its down sides, is really a great fit for me right now. I have two small children at home and I can be with them when they are sick and just be a part of their day every day, but I can also continue to satisfy my need to work and contribute financially to my family. It also feels as though sometimes I never leave my house, which is obviously not true, but can be hard to stay at my desk when I hear my son or daughter crying upstairs.
How do you interact with the families and Bigs you serve on a daily basis? How important are those communications?
I generally interact over the phone with my matches. However, two months ago I started supporting school based matches at two different schools and it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to meet the Littles and occasionally the Bigs in person. Match Support communication with our match parties is important to the relationship’s progression. While some matches may do great without any support, the support we provide offers advice, outing ideas, helps them problem solve, and how to deal with difficult situations. As Match Support we try to make the most out of our match parties time and give them what they need.
When do you feel like you are making a difference while doing your job?
I recently had to transfer many of my matches to colleagues to free up my caseload because of my new school based matches and I received emails from some of my transferred matches thanking me for working with them. I also feel like I am making a difference when I talk to one of my match parties and on a follow up call they report using my advice and it being helpful.
What site based work are you currently doing? What has your experience interacting with matches been like?
I am currently at the Plympton School in Waltham and Nathaniel Bowditch School in Salem. It’s really fun to meet the Littles and sometimes Bigs in person. I have really loved seeing how supportive everyone in the school is of the program and so welcoming. Also, seeing how much the kids really enjoy having a Big Brother or Big Sister come visit them every week at school is really great.
What does it mean to work for BBBSMB?
It is said all the time that we do important work, and I really truly believe we do. I have seen lives change for the better since I have started with BBBSMB and it makes my heart happy.
How would you describe the culture at BBBSMB?
BBBSMB is very collaborative and supportive of each other. Despite working remote and not being in the office daily like my colleagues they would never think twice of supporting me or helping out when needed.
Maureen & Fellow Remote Match Support Coordinator, Elizabeth Casey
What advice would you give to someone who is considering coming to work for BBBSMB?
If you have a passion for being involved, building relationships and helping others this is the place for you!