Have questions about being a Big?
Since 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been changing children's lives by matching them with caring adults to guide them on a path to success.
Frequently Asked Questions
We are affirmative, inviting, and inclusive of all Volunteer Mentors.
Who are the Bigs in the program?
Our Bigs 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. A heavy focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is key to defending the potential of all youth. We invite Bigs from all walks of life, we are affirmative in our mission and are inclusive in defending the potential of youth we mentor.
What is required to be a Big?
Requirements for being accepted as a Big: 18 years or older for Community Based, School/Site-Based Programs or MentorU, complete an Orientation session, complete in-person interview, complete home assessment check-list, three reference checks (spouse/partner, employer, personal), provide information if have involvement in a Youth Serving Organization or Program.
Background checks to be completed: Local, State, Federal, DMV, BBBSA Database Child-look up tool, National Database for Missing and Exploited Children, Public Domain search.
When can I see my Little?
We ask that you to spend time with your Little a minimum of twice per month for up to 12 months. You are more than welcome to see your Little more than the minimum each month. As a Big/Little team, you decide together what you want to do and then your Little gets approval from his or her parent. We will provide more guidance in your Orientation session.
How much money should I spend?
The quality of the time you invest 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 of the relationship is to help your Little see the world through a different lens so you can inspire your Little to become something they never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. 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, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book and read together. Buy a comic book to read together. Play a board game. Go on a nature walk. Hit a bucket of golf balls at the local driving range. Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like. You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. For youth, playing can be learning. Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
Can I bring my spouse, a friend, or a family member on outings?
In the beginning it’s most 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.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little, our Program Team will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. For the first year you are matched, we will contact you every 30 days to provide support and coaching as a new Big. It is very important you stay in consistent contact with us so we can provide education as needed, as well as celebrate your Big/Little relationship.
Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have Program staff 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.
Will I become a replacement parent?
No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big Brother or Big Sister to spend quality, one-on-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!
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