At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, we provide volunteer opportunities in Utah in the form of mentoring. There are three different mentoring programs that we run: community-based, site-based, and Mentor2.0. When you are first getting familiar with BBBSU, it takes a minute to remember which one means what. We want you to understand with surety what community-based mentoring is, what it looks like and what it does for our community!
WHAT IT IS
Community-based mentoring is a volunteer opportunity in Utah that aligns responsible adults with kids from the community in order to give them additional mentors. The matches we make are supposed to meet up two to four times a month and spend quality time together somewhere in the community. We call our mentors, “Bigs,” and the mentees, “Littles,” and if the relationship between the Big and Little is healthy, we intend the match to last for at least a year. Right now, our average match length stands at about 26 months for these community-based matches. When they meet and what they do is up to them, but we encourage them to engage in meaningful one-to-one activities.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
The matches we make are not made at random; instead, we do our best to find the right fit for both the Big and Little. Our pairings are sensitive to personalities, interests, genders and more. While most matches are one-to-one, we also allow couples the ability to mentor a child together. The Bigs we select are not just anyone looking for volunteer opportunities in Utah, rather, they are trusted adults from within the area that meet specific requirements. On the other side of things, our Littles are kids who are typically beset with challenging circumstances.
When a Big and Little meet up to spend time together, you can expect them to engage in some sort of fun-filled activity! Something as simple as playing at a park is viewed as a perfectly good activity between a Big and Little; however, some pairs might like to do something more extravagant, like biking! Again, what they do with their time is up to them.
WHAT IT DOES
Now, it’s great that we provide volunteer opportunities in Utah to individuals looking to strengthen the community, but the reason for it all comes back to our mission. By presenting children with professionally supported one-to-one relationships, their lives change for the better. Our research shows that 94 percent of our Littles report increased social acceptance after being with a mentor for a year or more. Additionally, 84 percent of BBBSU Littles say they are less likely to engage in risky behavior after that first year. Overall, what our community-based mentoring program does is help kids see more in themselves than they ever did before.
We love producing special volunteer opportunities in Utah for adults almost as much as we love seeing the youth in the community grow. It isn’t the activities that make mentoring meaningful, it is the change that takes place within these kids that makes it all worth it. Thanks to the efforts made by our volunteers in the community-based mentoring program, many underprivileged boys and girls have a much brighter future.