Due to COVID-19, the interview, application, and training process will be completed virtually
Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
We hold ourselves accountable for each child in our program achieving:
- Higher aspirations
- Avoidance of risky behaviors
- Educational success
Why are mentors so important?
A great mentoring relationship that lasts for at least one year can be a positive factor to balance challenges many kids face, such as:
- Substance abuse
- Problems in school
- Problems relating to peers
How it works:
- We enroll children who have many risk factors in their lives and who want to have a mentor. If your child is enrolled we will train you and them on safety and rules of the program.
- We look for a volunteer mentor who will be a great fit for your child. We screen and train volunteers. Then, if you accept them as a mentor, we will match your child (who we call a Little Brother/Sister or Little for short) with a mentor (a Big Brother/Sister or Big for short).
Our one to one program is built on:
- Commitment from parent/guardian, child & mentor
- Careful screening of potential volunteers
- Thoughtful matching based on preferences and common interests
- Strong mentoring relationships that we hope will last for at least one year
- On-going involvement between child, mentor, staff and parent/guardian
Parent/Guardian and Child Time Commitment:
- We ask all Bigs (mentors) and Littles (youth) to make a 12-month commitment.
- Parents & children also commit to open communication with their Big to schedule activities (usually 2 to 4 times per month) and to talk about any issues that arise.
- Parents & children must be willing to talk to Big Brothers Big Sisters staff monthly for the first year and quarterly after that.
Expectations for Parents/Guardians:
- Maintain open communication with your child, their Big and BBBSU staff:
- Confirm the plans (date, start & end times, location) for your child’s activities
- Ensure that your child is on time & ready for activities
- Talk with your child after every activity
- Contact your BBBSU each month to discuss the mentoring relationship
- Partner with BBBSU staff to monitor child safety and help ensure the mentoring relationship is working toward the positive goals set for your child
- Encourage low or no-cost activities so your child learns the focus is the relationship with their Big and not expensive outings
- Encourage your child to thank their Big after activities
Enrollment Process for Littles:
Our staff will meet with you to gather information and make sure that our program is a good fit for your child. This includes:
- In-person interview w/parent & child
- Pre-match training
- Child safety information
- Application (if parents live separately we will ask for permission from both)
Acceptance into the program depends on many factors including:
- How well the risk factors in the child’s life fit the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring model
- Child’s enthusiasm for building a friendship with a mentor
- Parent willingness & ability to support the child’s relationship with mentor
- Parent willingness & commitment to maintain monthly contact w/Match Support staff
- Willingness to make 12-month commitment
If your child is accepted:
- We will place your child on our waitlist while we search for a volunteer mentor who will be a great fit. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee a mentor or predict wait time.
- We do all we can to minimize the amount of time kids wait, but on average kids wait 10 to 12 months before we are able to match them with a Big.
*Please note that acceptance of one child in a family does not mean automatic acceptance for all siblings. We look at each child individually and determine if they are a good fit for our program.*
Child Abuse Prevention
BBBSU believes that parental involvement in the life of children is the best protection against abuse. Parents have the best opportunity to:
- Empower your child through education.
- Maintain open communication with your child.
- Look for any changes in your child’s behavior that may indicate abuse.
- Help children disclose abuse.
If your child is accepted into the program, our staff will provide training for you and for your child about keeping them safe.
- Your Match Support will regularly ask you and your child about child safety issues.
- Throughout the match – please remember the training and discuss safety with your child.
- Ask Match Support any time you have questions or concerns.
After you interview with Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, all parents will be asked to complete Your Childs’ Personal Safety Training online. Your enroller will register you and introduce the topic at your interview.