Have questions about being a Big?
Frequently Asked Questions for Bigs
What is the time commitment?
Mentors spend between 4-6 hours per month with their mentee (“Little”). For most mentors, this is a few hours on a weekend or one hour after school during the week. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis. Our Match Support Staff will provide more guidance on this once you are matched.
How do you match children with volunteers?
Volunteers and children are matched together based on similar interests. Our enrollment team works hard to make sure that volunteers are matched with children who enjoy the same types of activities.
What can I do with my mentee/Little Brother or Little Sister?
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book and read together. Play a board game. Go on a hike. 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 children, playing can be learning. Most important: Keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
Who are the children you serve?
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. Most of the children we serve simply need an adult who can spend a little time with them.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little Brother or Sister, a Match Support Specialist from our agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist 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.
Am I too old to Be a Big Brother or Big Sister?
No. We invite people of all ages to mentor our local youth. Some of our most enduring and successful matches are with Bigs who volunteered during their golden years.
Can I bring my spouse, a friend or family member on outings?
In the beginning it’s 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 and the impact you have on his or her life.
How old are the children you match?
Big Brothers Big Sisters serves children ages 6-18. We actively match kids until they are 14 years old and continue to support matches whose Littles are 15-18 years old. We do not match youth older than 14 in our community-based program because teens tend to be too busy to develop a relationship with an adult mentor. Our goal is to get all children interested in a mentor matched before they turn 14 years old.
How much does it cost to participate?
Big Brothers Big Sisters does not charge a fee to participate in our program. From time to time, we may ask you to include us in your charitable giving, but we do not expect you to pay any fees for our program.
How much money should I spend?
The quality of time invested 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 them 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 a pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. Find a list of match discounts for low cost activities here.
How is Big Brothers Big Sisters funded?
Big Brothers big Sisters is a donor funded organization. We rely on the generosity of individuals, like you, to provide us the financial support for our program. Your financial contributions help support the recruitment, enrollment and support of the volunteers who mentor children in our community. In addition to individual donors, Big Brothers Big Sisters receives financial support from corporations, foundations, and local, state and federal government agencies.