Be A Big
Quick Steps to Become a Big
Here are the quick and easy steps we’ll walk you through:
We will review the children in your area who need a Big Brother or Big Sister and find the best fit for you. Depending on the gender and the kind of child you would like to work with, matching may go very quickly or may take some time. Making the best match is important to our commitment to form a lasting mentoring relationship.
Interviews take about an hour and take place at our office or your school. During the interview, a staff member provides an orientation for the volunteer, explaining the program in greater detail, helping the volunteer to determine which program option is the best fit, and answering any questions the volunteer may have. The interview consists of a questionnaire designed to help us get to know the volunteer better and to determine what type of “Little” would be the best fit. A portion of the questionnaire is devoted to assessing the volunteer’s home environment.
Enrollment & Match Support Specialists maintain regular contact with the parent, child, and volunteer involved in the match relationship. This allows the participants to share their match experiences, and any concerns and questions they may have with a member of the agency. It also allows for individualized volunteer training needs, addressing specific questions a volunteer may have about their mentoring experience.
What it looks like to be a Big
Here is what you can expect when you become a Big:
Once matched, Big Brothers and Big Sisters develop friendships with their Little Brothers and Little Sisters. Whether playing a game or simply hanging out – Volunteer Bigs bring magic into a child’s life and can START SOMETHING BIG. It is that simple!
Matches meet in schools for 30 minutes once a week during the school day. Matches do projects together, read in the library, eat lunch, shoot hoops and more.
This match consists of Bigs and Littles who get together for a few hours each week or every other week to hang out in the community and go to museums, sports events, movies, and more. It’s up to you and your Little!
We will support your friendship
When you are part of something Big, you are not alone. Each match is supported by professionally trained Match Support Specialist at our Big Brothers Big Sisters office. Match Support Specialists regularly check in with volunteers, children, and parents, and are always available to answer questions.
Regular events are held in our community, giving you an opportunity to meet other Bigs and Littles in our area. Plus, through the generosity of our community partners and individuals in your community, there are often free tickets to ball games, the theater, and more! Please see the Events tab for more details.
What Does It Mean To Be A BIG?
Adult Volunteer Application
Are you an adult looking to give back to your community through mentoring? Become a kid again and experience the power of mentoring. Download our application now.
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High School Volunteer Application
Are you a high school student looking to make a BIG difference in the life of a child? Download our application now.
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Please email, mail or fax the completed form back so that YOU can Start Something BIG!
Common Match Questions & Concerns
We’re here to help
Setting Limits and Saying “no”
- When you pick up your Little, let your Little and his/her parent/caregiver know what time you will be back.
- As the end of your time together approaches, give your youth reminders. For example, “we have time to play one more game” or “we need to leave in 15 minutes.”
- Remind the Little that the focus of Big Brothers Big Sisters is friendship, not money.
- If your match is new, it helps to start out by doing fun activities that don’t cost you anything.
- Sit down together with your youth and brainstorm activity ideas you would like to do that don’t require spending money.
- When you are arranging the activity, discuss with your Little and his/her caregiver whether you will be eating together during your activity or if your Little should eat before you pick him/her up.
- If your Little often says he/she is hungry during your activities, plan ahead and bring along a snack.
- Rather than asking your Little “What do you want to do?” provide your Little with a few free or low cost activities to choose from.
- Set a budget for the month and talk with your Little about the options. For example: “We have $20 to spend this month for our four activities. That can be $5 per activity, $10 on two outings and two free ones, or $20 on one outing and three free ones.” ($20 is just an example.)
- Stick to the limit you set. It’s OK to say “no”, but let them down gently.
- Remember, your Match Support Specialist (MSS) is here to problem-solve and assist. Your MSS can also talk with the Little about realistic expectations of the program.
Staying in Touch
- Please contact your Match Support Specialist right away if you begin to have trouble reaching your Little. We’re here to help with such challenges. Your Match Support Specialist will work with you, your Little and your Little’s caregiver to develop a plan to overcome this barrier.
- Try stopping by your Little’s house, leaving a note or sending a letter.
- Encourage your Little to call you if he or she has access to a phone somewhere other than home.
- Set up your next outing each time you meet. When you drop off your Little, communicate clearly with your Little’s caregiver about the time and date of your next activity.
- Write down your scheduled activities on 2 calendars – one for you & one for your Little.
- Plan to meet regularly on the same day and time each week to limit needed phone contact.
Dealing with a no-show
Q: I went to pick up my Little for a scheduled activity and he wasn’t there. What should I do? A: It’s okay to feel disappointed or frustrated, but try not to take this situation personally. Miscommunication and scheduling problems are common early in a match, and your Little may not be used to scheduled social activities. The best thing to do is contact your Match Support Specialist, who can help you work through it with your Little and your Little’s parent. You can reduce the chance of a no-show by using these tips:
- If possible, meet the same day and time each week.
- Set up your next outing each time you meet.
- Be sure to communicate with your Little’s parent about your scheduled activity. This increases the likelihood that your Little will be home and helps ensure that a parent will be home when you pick up and drop off your Little.
- Write down your meeting times on calendars, one for you and one for your Little. Your Match Support Specialist can provide calendars if you need them.
- Call the day before to confirm plans and call again before you leave to pick up your Little.