What is a Big Brother or Big Sister?
A ‘Big’ is a volunteer mentor who is matched in a one-to-one relationship with a child (‘Little’) in our program. A mentor is a friend, a supporter, a positive and consistent addition to the life of a Little. A Big Brother or Big Sister is not a replacement parent, a babysitter or a therapist. Rather someone to help share a different perspective on life and help their Little to realize their endless potential.
What are the requirements for enrolling a child in the BBBSLI program?
Children who are ages 7-14 years old may be accepted to be matched with a Volunteer Mentor, or ‘Big’. The child must be willing to be matched in order to be accepted into the program, as we feel they will receive the most benefit if they have a genuine desire to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister.
Why am I on the waitlist?
There are several reasons you may be on our waitlist after either inquiring to become a mentor or after you have been accepted as a mentor in our program. Some reasons could be: Historically, we have received a greater number of potential Big Sister inquiries than Big Brother inquiries, and so Little Brothers may wait a bit longer to be interviewed or matched. We process all Big Brother applicants as soon as we receive them, so we do our best to meet the needs of Little Brothers on the waitlist as quickly as possible. We may not have a Big Brother or Big Sister ready to be matched within proximity to where you are located.
What support does a parent/guardian and child receive from BBBSLI?
Once a Big and a Little are matched, they are assigned a Case Manager who will oversee and monitor the match for its duration. Our designated staff is available during the week for answers to any questions, to guide and assist with any issues or difficulties, and to ensure that all parties are benefiting from the relationship. Additionally, BBBSLI provides training and support services for the duration of the match relationship.
What types of activities does a Big and a Little do together?
It is up to the Bigs and Littles, with approval from the Little’s parent/guardian, and sometimes approval from the Case Manager, for what activities they would like to take part in together. Activities range from simply going to the library or bookstore, playing sports, going to the movies, to attending sporting events or shows. We stress ‘no to low cost’ activities that strengthen the relationship while building confidence and expose the Little Brother or Little Sister to new things. Many of our matches do community service activities together as well, such as volunteering at soup kitchens, doing walkathons, etc. Our agency does receive limited amounts of donated tickets throughout the year, which we offer to all of our matches on a first come, first serve basis.