What Big Brothers Big Sisters does better than any other mentoring organization is the extensive vetting process and the attention that goes into matching the right child with the right volunteer. We conduct a lengthy interview process to find a strong and safe match for each child based on where they live, personality, interests and background so the process can take anywhere from a few months to more than a year. The amount of time it takes to schedule your interview can vary greatly depending on who and where the kids on our waiting list are. Currently, our waiting list is nearly 100% boys, many who have been waiting for a Big Brother for a year or longer.
No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big to spend quality, one-on-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in…someone like you!
Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist there to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
In the beginning it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little and the impact, support, and empowerment to reach their full potential.
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. You want to select outings that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. Whether it’s going to the movies, rooting for your favorite sports teams or hitting the trails for fresh air and exercise; keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal is to empower and awaken your Little’s potential by taking an interest in their hobbies, sharing both of your favorite activities, and by simply being a consistent and positive adult influence in their life . If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Shoot hoops at a local park, play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies offer donor-supported group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big Brother or Big Sister, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
As a Big Brother/Little Brother (or Big Sister/Little Sister) team, you decide together what you want to do and then your Little gets parent approval. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis. Your local agency will provide more guidance on this. Until your relationship is established the outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little and you.
Our Big Brothers & Big Sisters come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit!