Frequently Asked Questions for Children
As a parent, you recognize the potential of your child better than anyone. By giving your child the opportunity to be part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, you’re starting them down a path to an even brighter, more promising future.
Have questions? That is GREAT! Scroll down for answers to common questions.
What is a “Big”?
- Bigs are volunteer mentors, who are mostly ages 18+ come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles.
- In our San Juan County and Otero county offices we accept 15-17 year old Bigs with parent permission for our High School Bigs program.
- They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills.
- They 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!
What is a “Little”?
- Littles are kids ages 6-18.
- Littles come to BBBS either through a parent/guardian or through a referral from a local school or agency.
- Big Brothers Big Sisters seeks to serve the children who need us most, including those living in single parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration.
- We do not exclude any kids who want to have a mentor regardless of living situation or income level.
- The Littles want to spend time with a Big.
How much time does it take to be a "Big"?
- As little as 45 minutes a week for the School-Based program to 4-6 hours a month for the Community-Based program.
- Community-Based: Bigs provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention doing activities in their community. Typically, Bigs meet with their Littles 1-2 times per month for a couple of hours. Commitment: 12+ months.
- School-Based: Bigs provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention in local schools during the child’s school day or after-school program. School-Based matches meet one time per week, usually for 45-60 minutes. Commitment: of at least 12+ months.
- Couples Mentoring: A Big Couple’s match provides a unique opportunity for married or otherwise committed couples. It’s a community-based match, very similar to that of the one-to-one program, except that the couple is matched together with a Little. They still meet with the child and spend time with him or her at events or activities in the community, but the program provides some flexibility to the spouses within the match. They can participate with the child together as a couple, or if one spouse is particularly busy one week, the other can participate with the child individually. The child not only benefits from the addition of two caring adults in their life, but they also get to see first-hand how two adults interact in a healthy, loving relationship.
How much money should a Big spend?
- The quality of time invested with a Little is more important than the amount of money a Big spends.
- We do not encourage spending a lot of, if any, money on your outings.
- The goal of the relationship is to help a Little see the world through a different lens so the Big can inspire them to become something they never thought possible.
- If a Big is going to spend money, we encourage them to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Shoot hoops at a local park, play a game together, or share that pizza you were going to have for lunch anyway. Find a list of match discounts for low cost activities here.
What are some good ideas for outings?
- Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about.
- Read a comic book together.
- Play a board game.
- Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like.
- Select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another.
- For children, playing can be learning.
- Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
Can a Big bring their spouse, a friend or family member on outings?
- In the beginning, it’s important for the Big and Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis.
- Over time, it’s valuable for the Big and Little to get to know the people who are important to each of you. Just keep in mind that spending lots of time with others, a Little or Big may begin to feel jealous or neglected.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
- Once your child is matched with their Big, a Case Manager from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and feedback.
- Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Case Manager 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 my child’s Big become a replacement parent?
- 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!
How can my child participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters?
- Inquiry - We need some basic information about you to get the process started. Give us a call or inquire online.
**Please note depending on availability of volunteers, the process may take up to two years to be matched**
- Interview - We will call and schedule a time for you to meet with an Enrollment Specialist. The interview offers us a chance to learn about you and your family so we have a good understanding of what type of Big to match your child with. It takes approximately two hours.
- Match Meeting – Once your child’s application and interview is processed, we will let you know of a Big we think would match well with you and your child. We will then set up a meeting between you and your child, a Support Specialist, and your child’s Big Brother or Big Sister. We will discuss agency ground rules, complete any remaining paperwork, and your child will be able to start meeting with their Big Brother or Big Sister!