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 applying to be a volunteer mentor?
Accepted volunteer mentors are 18 or older. You must also complete an in-depth interview with one of our program staff and sign off on a background and DMV check to be conducted on your behalf.
What is the time commitment to be a volunteer mentor?
We request that you agree to a minimum of one year to be matched with a child, and to spend at minimum a couple of hours a week a few times per month with them. It is not the amount of time that matters most, but your consistency that matters most to the children in our program. Approximately 20% of all out current matches have been together for 5 or more years!
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 we have a greater need for Big Brothers, so Big Sisters may wait a bit longer to be interviewed or matched. We may be waiting for your background check or DMV check to be returned to us for review. We may not have a child ready to be matched within proximity to where you are located.
What support does a mentor 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 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 actities 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.