Community Based Mentoring

A Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region community based mentor’s role is simple: to be a friend to a child, on a one-to-one basis. Men are matched with boys in all circumstances, and women are matched with girls in most circumstances. Bigs and Littles participate in everyday activities together on average of two to three times per month for a minimum of one year. The schedule can be flexible to meet the needs of volunteers and Littles. The activities you choose to do together are up to you!

How It Works

  • Interested volunteers meet with Match Coordinators to learn about their interests and skills to make sure every match is right for both the Big and Little.
  • Throughout the friendship, Bigs assist Littles to build confidence and promote positive decision-making skills, and independence. Enhancing the self-esteem of a child can be a key building block in the development of their personality and overall approach to life.
  • All volunteers undergo a comprehensive background screening before being matched with a child (learn more about our commitment to child safety)
  • Match Coordinators stay in touch throughout the life of the match to help answer any questions or address concerns families or mentors might have.
  • If you can commit 2-3 times a month, you can change the life of a child through mentoring!
bbbs pattern
cb match baking

How It Works

  • Interested volunteers meet with Match Coordinators to learn about their interests and skills to make sure every match is right for both the Big and Little.
  • Throughout the friendship, Bigs assist Littles to build confidence and promote positive decision-making skills, and independence. Enhancing the self-esteem of a child can be a key building block in the development of their personality and overall approach to life.
  • All volunteers undergo a comprehensive background screening before being matched with a child (learn more about our commitment to child safety)
  • Match Coordinators stay in touch throughout the life of the match to help answer any questions or address concerns families or mentors might have.
  • If you can commit 2-3 times a month, you can change the life of a child through mentoring!
bbbs pattern

Community Based Programs

Individual Match
One adult (ages 16+) and one child (ages 6-12) are matched by one of our trained Match Coordinators. Interviews conducted with all parties help Match Coordinators identify ideal match candidates with the goal of establishing a long-term mentoring relationship. Men are always matched with boys, and women are mostly matched with girls.
Couples Match
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers the opportunity for married couples to spend some fun time together and share this special time with a child. Because most Little Brothers and Little Sisters are from single-parent homes, a family experience such as Couples for Kids is important for their positive growth. As volunteers, you and your spouse can provide a model of responsibility, maturity, and commitment for a child, while building a bond of friendship that will forever impact the child’s life.
Family Match
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers the opportunity for married couples with children to spend some time together and share this special time with a child. It’s an extra seat at the dinner table, an extra ticket to the movie, or an extra person to help rake and jump in the leaves! Just being together in a family setting is a valuable experience for Littles.

Community Based Programs

Individual Match
One adult (ages 16+) and one child (ages 6-12) are matched by one of our trained Match Coordinators. Interviews conducted with all parties help Match Coordinators identify ideal match candidates with the goal of establishing a long-term mentoring relationship. Men are always matched with boys, and women are mostly matched with girls.
Couples Match
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers the opportunity for married couples to spend some fun time together and share this special time with a child. Because most Little Brothers and Little Sisters are from single-parent homes, a family experience such as Couples for Kids is important for their positive growth. As volunteers, you and your spouse can provide a model of responsibility, maturity, and commitment for a child, while building a bond of friendship that will forever impact the child’s life.
Family Match
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers the opportunity for married couples with children to spend some time together and share this special time with a child. It’s an extra seat at the dinner table, an extra ticket to the movie, or an extra person to help rake and jump in the leaves! Just being together in a family setting is a valuable experience for Littles.

FAQs

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!

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/Will 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 directory 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 Things I Could Do 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 directory is a great resource for activities you and your Little might enjoy.

Can I Bring My Spouse/Freind or Family Member?

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 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!

FAQs

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!

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/Will 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 directory 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 Things I Could Do 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 directory is a great resource for activities you and your Little might enjoy.

Can I Bring My Spouse/Freind or Family Member?

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 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!

Other Mentoring Programs

Virtual Mentoring Programs

Virtual Mentoring

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BBBS has launched new virtual mentoring programs for elementary school students during the 2020-21 school year. Bigs and Littles meet weekly over Zoom to work on reading and communication skills and engage in fun activities!

lbl home

Lunchbox Learners

Lunchbox Learners focuses on helping children in grades K – 3 improve their reading skills. You meet with a student once a week during the student’s lunch hour to read books, play word games and make reading fun!

teaming up with youth home

Teaming Up With Youth

Local high school students team up with elementary students in this weekly after school program. Teaming Up With Youth Littles improve their academic, social, and relationship skills.

Other Mentoring Programs

Virtual Mentoring Programs

Virtual Mentoring

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BBBS has launched new virtual mentoring programs for elementary school students during the 2020-21 school year. Bigs and Littles meet weekly over Zoom to work on reading and communication skills and engage in fun activities!

lbl home

Lunchbox Learners

Lunchbox Learners focuses on helping children in grades K – 3 improve their reading skills. You meet with a student once a week during the student’s lunch hour to read books, play word games and make reading fun!

teaming up with youth home

Teaming Up With Youth

Local high school students team up with elementary students in this weekly after school program. Teaming Up With Youth Littles improve their academic, social, and relationship skills.

Pin It on Pinterest