We ask Community based Bigs to commit for 12 months, meeting once a month, twice a month, or once a week, for an average of 3-5 hours. Once a Big is matched with a Little, they will decide together how often they will meet and what works best for their relationship and schedules.
On-site programs typically meet only during the school year for an hour a week.
What kinds of activities do Mentors and Mentees do together?
We encourage Bigs and Littles to choose activities they both enjoy. Caseworkers do their best to match mentors with a Little Brother or Little Sister who has interests similar to theirs. Many agencies organize group activities for matches, and are sometimes given tickets to movies, sporting events, and cultural events which they offer to their matches.
How much money should be spent on a Little?
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers many activities that are free to matched Bigs and Littles. In addition to these activities, we provide matched Bigs and Littles with many ideas of things to do that are free and focus on spending time together like going to the library or playing catch in a park. It is the little things that make the biggest impact on these children—time, not money.
What kind of training is provided?
Bigs attend training sessions where they learn our dos and don’ts. We let them know what we expect from Bigs and what they should expect from us. A case worker is also assigned to the match and will be in contact with the Big and Little throughout the relationship to help give guidance when needed, serve as a resource or sounding board and give suggestions for activities if needed.
How are children referred?
In a number or ways—parents, teachers, outside counselors. No matter how he or she is referred, all children have to want to be part of the program.
I would like to volunteer with my family or do this because my children benefit and have fun—is that okay?
This program is based on a one-to-one relationship with a child and a mentor. Occasionally the parent may give permission for their child to meet a family member or welcome the mentor to a family gathering.
Do you accept everyone who applies to be a volunteer?
No. As prospective mentors go through the application and assessment process, the agency may determine that a mentoring role is not right for them. Prospective mentors themselves may also decide the time is not right to take on this role.
How will I be matched?
A match is made after a careful consideration of your background, values, interests, and preferences and how they are compatible with a specific child. Once we find a child who we think would work well with you, we begin the matching process.
What are just a few characteristics a successful mentor might have?
- Enjoy spending time with children and youth
- Desire to build a friendship with a child or youth
- Good listeners
- Respect the values and beliefs of others, even if they different than my own
- Strong problem solving and interpersonal skills
- Take your own safety and the safety of others seriously.
When you are part of something Big, you are part of the power of every match.
With 110 years of momentum, we have renewed focus on growth, and a renewed commitment to bringing our life-changing program to every child who needs and wants it.
Be part of the power of a match.
The power of the Big Brothers Big Sisters “match” lies in the friendships we facilitate. A first ballgame, a heart-to-heart talk, or a milk-through-the-noses laugh might not seem earth-shattering, but the power of that moment can be life-altering, and truly part of something Big.
Be part of the magic.
Each of us remembers the adults, other than our parents, who brought a little magic into our lives. Every single child can benefit from the additional caring and insight a “Big” offers, and the value their shared experience creates.
Every volunteer Big brings something to the table. A caring adult sharing everyday experiences with a child is the core premise on which we were built and based. Whether delivered through our community or the site-based programs, each match holds promise. Each match makes magic.
Be part of the nation’s leading youth mentoring organization.
Our name is synonymous with the one-to-one youth mentoring. Behind this name are the many professionals who have developed, refined, and now deliver this premier system to recruit and screen candidates. Our professionals match Littles to Bigs, support these safe relationships with skill and compassion, and pave the way for lifelong friendships that create lifetime memories.
The impact of our program is big: a landmark study confirmed that children are more likely to excel and make better choices in their lives when they have experiences the quiet power of a Big Brothers Big Sisters match.
Little Brothers and Little Sisters are much less likely to skip school and much less likely to start using alcohol and illegal drugs.
Be part of the bigger picture.
Parents and guardians put their trust in us as they place their children in our program. Teachers bring forward potential Littles. Principals and educational administrators value our involvement. Volunteer Bigs give their time and energy and, in doing so, find they get as much back as they give. Skilled, talented staff creates and supports quality match relationships. Generous donors support our organization and its expansion. Partners share our ideals, and believe in our vision.
Our momentum is powered by all these individuals in the bigger picture. Big Brothers Big Sisters is moving boldly forward, and we invite you to join us, and be part of something Big.
You can be part of something BIG!
Content courtesy of BBBS of Southwestern Connecticut and BBBS of Toronto.