Thank you for your interest in being a Big and a positive adult role model to a child in need! Over 70 kids in the Great Lakes Bay Region are waiting for you right now.
Mentoring is fun! This is your chance to be a kid again. And your commitment helps guide a child through life’s ups and downs.
And being a Big doesn’t have to be expensive, or time consuming. All we ask for is a time commitment of 2-3 times a month, engaging in low-cost or free activities with your Little.
Keep scrolling to learn more, or apply now to get started.
How am I matched with a child?
The enrollment and interview process helps us to get to know your preferences, as well as the situation best suited for you. It also helps you get to know us and the program expectations. Your Match Coordinator takes into account your personality, likes, dislikes, age preferences, background, and location. But the final decision is yours.
How do kids join the program?
Kids and parents may hear about BBBS from a teacher, counselor, church, friend, commercials, etc. All kids and their parents choose to be in our program.
Learn more about enrolling a child
Who are the kids in the program?
Our Littles come from many types of home environments and family structures, different social-economic levels, ethnic backgrounds, and neighborhoods and schools across all communities. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all have the need for a caring adult mentor.
What kind of time commitment is expected of me?
Good news! If you can commit at least 2-3 times per month, you have the time to change the life of a child. We ask for a minimum commitment of one year. However, many matches last much longer!
Child safety is our #1 priority
The safety and well-being of the children we serve is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ highest priority. Before making a match, our Match Coordinators carefully screen all volunteers to be sure we not only make a match that lasts, but that kids are safe.
We focus on child safety by providing:
- Thorough, professional screening.
- Child safety and child abuse prevention education programs for volunteers, parents and children and Match Coordinators.
- Guidelines that establish appropriate boundaries and respect a child’s right to feel safe.
- Ongoing BBBS Match Support contact with each party in the match. This helps provide up-to-date information about safety issues and early warnings of potential problems throughout the match relationship.
Each volunteer must complete a thorough screening process that includes:
- Completion of a formal written application.
- Criminal history record check and a driver’s license record check.
- Personal references
- In-person interview
- Home assessment
A Match Coordinator maintains required consistent scheduled contacts with each member of the match party.
After a match is made, the Match Coordinator maintains regular contact with the parent, child and volunteer. During the first year of the match, this contact takes place monthly. After the first year, quarterly contact is made. These conversations serve not only to measure the health of the match, but to address any areas of concern.
Your Match Coordinator is also available to you at any time to help with your questions or concerns.
LIFE AS A BIG
When can I see my Little?
Our Bigs and Littles decide together what they want to do, and then they get parent approval. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and that you see each other on a regular basis. Your Match Coordinator will provide specific guidelines on expected frequency of activities with your Little. Until your relationship is established, the outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parent, your Little, and you. If your Little is younger, a shorter outing might be better.
How much money should I spend?
We discourage you from spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is friendship. You should focus your time on getting to know each other. We encourage you to seek out free or low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Our local events calendar is a great resource for activities you and your Little might enjoy! You may also receive notices for opportunities for free tickets for you and your match to attend a variety of cultural and sports activities.
What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?
Share an activity that gives you a chance to enjoy something in common. Buy a comic book to read to each other, play a board game or take a ride in the car with the radio on while you discuss music! 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: have FUN! Our local events calendar is a great resource for activities you and your Little might enjoy.
Can I bring my spouse/friend/family member on outings?
In the beginning, it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This happens best on a one-to-one basis. Over time, however, it can be valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. Remember that the main focus is the friendship YOU have with your Little. If you have questions about outings, contact your Match Coordinator for guidelines or suggestions.
What kind of support can I expect from BBBS once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Coordinator from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Anytime you’re unsure about what to do, or how to handle a situation, you’ll have a Match Coordinator there to help. They can offer ideas for activities, guidance for handling difficult situations, and feedback on how you’re making a difference, just by showing up!
Thanks for taking the first step in becoming a Big. You’ll be joining over 240,000 other volunteers in the BBBS family!
Please complete all fields and submit the request below. A representative from the agency will contact you to help answer your questions and to help you decide if being a BIG is right for you!