The role of a mentor can be many things. At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, mentors spend quality time with their Littles, providing guidance, support, and friendship. The experience is rewarding and challenging as mentors help their Littles navigate through their youth. A mentor offers advice and support and is a consistent and caring adult in the life of their Little. Having a dependable adult makes all the difference in the lives of the kids we serve.
Requirements to Become a Mentor with BBBSU
Mentors with BBBSU come from all walks of life, with different backgrounds, identities, interests, ages, careers, and more. One thing that they have in common? They are all caring and consistent and want to make a difference in the life of a child.
To take advantage of the volunteer opportunities in Utah as a Big (volunteer mentor), you need to commit to your mentee for at least a year and spend time with your mentee throughout the month. All new mentors undergo orientation and training before they are matched with their mentees and continue receiving ongoing training during their time in the program.
Mentors with BBBSU will have the opportunity to participate in various activities with their mentees throughout the year. Some community-based mentoring activity highlights include the invitation to Quarterly match activities such as the Summer Picnic and the Winter Holiday party. Mentors will also participate in monthly outings and activities with their mentees on their own. These opportunities allow mentors to get to know their mentees and help them grow.
Requirements to become a ‘Big’ differ for our three programs. Here are the requirements to be a community-based mentor to a child aged 6-18:
- Willing to share your time (Meet 2-4 times per month in the community)
- Be at least 18 years of age
- A commitment of one-year minimum
- Have reliable transportation
- Work with your Little and their parent to choose activities
- Works toward goals that your Little has set
- Pass a background check
How to Get Started
All potential volunteers must complete the following steps to become a Big.
- Complete Orientation
We provide basic information you need to know about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, and talk about our mission and work. We give you insight into the experience of being a Big and what is expected of a mentor. At the end, you will fill out a questionnaire to proceed to the next step.
- Fill Out an Application
Filling out online forms with the required personal information.
- Complete Fingerprinting and Interview
Once the application is submitted, you schedule and attend a fingerprint/background check, followed by an interview. Interviews can be virtual, but the fingerprinting must be done in person.
- Complete Online Training
All mentors must go through an online training that begins your preparation for developing a positive relationship with your Little. The training includes aspects of youth development and youth protection.
- Application Review
While you are completing your training, our staff will be checking your background and references and reviewing your overall application.
- Meet Your Little
If accepted, we propose a mentoring match and then schedule a time for your first meeting.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah has three different types of programs that offer volunteer opportunities in Utah: Community-Based, Site-Based, and mentor2.0. We understand that one program won’t work for all people. Each of the 3 programs has different requirements and expectations so you should be able to find one that will work with your lifestyle.
- Community-based Mentoring
This program matches adult volunteers (at least 18 years old) with kids who want to have a mentor. The mentoring “Match” consists of a volunteer mentor, or “Big”, and a child/youth, or “Little”. The match meets 2-4 times a month. They will spend quality time together doing activities that are parent/guardian-approved and that work towards the youth development goals set with the Little. The minimum volunteer commitment is one year. Activities of the match can be a wide variety of things, but we encourage low-or-no cost, one-to-one activities that support positive outcomes for the Little. As with all programs Bigs, Littles and parents/guardians receive on-going support from our staff to help along the way.
- Site-based Mentoring
In this program, mentoring matches meet weekly for 60 to 90 minutes per session at a site, most often at an elementary school, in after-school hours on a designated weekday. BBBSU staff are present to facilitate the programming and support the matches. In this program, Littles are ages 6 to 11 and Bigs can be Adults or High School students (Freshmen to Juniors). Although the mentoring matches meet only during the academic year, we ask for a minimum 12-month program commitment from the Big and the Little. As in all programs, mentoring is focused on youth development goals for the Little to optimize positive outcomes from the program.
- mentor 2.0
Mentor2.0 is a technology-enhanced mentoring program for high-school students focused on supporting their preparation for college and career. Mentors work with their Mentees on goal setting, resilience, and preparing for life after high-school graduation. In mentor2.0 mentoring matches communicate electronically weekly and meet in-person monthly in the evening hours at the high-school. As in all our mentoring programs we ask for a minimum program commitment of 12 months from both Mentor and Mentee. Mentors must have a college degree, or equivalent professional or military experience. (Opportunities for mentor2.0 are currently located in Salt Lake County and Weber County).
To apply to become a Big, visit https://bbbsu.org/be-a-mentor/.