Making the best possible match between Little and Big is critical to the growth and development of a child. But before we begin the matching process, we start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters National Standards of Excellence require each volunteer to complete an extensive screening process that includes:
Completion of a formal written application
Background and reference checks
An in-person interview
An orientation and training process that outlines the individualized needs of your child and provides information and resources on how to encourage your child's development
Big Brothers Big Sisters also provides child safety tips to you and your child, and we welcome your questions and feedback. Throughout the life of the match, our professional staff will be in ongoing communication with you, your child, and your child's Big. It’s the best way to build a strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future success.
Why get a Big?
Bigs serve many purposes. Sometimes, a child just needs an additional role model and sometimes, a child is affected by a certain event and does not know how to cope. Many times, a non-parent role model provides a trusted source in which Littles can confide
Will I be replaced by my child's Big?
Definitely not! A Big acts as a non-parent mentor and third-party role model. Bigs are there for Littles as a supplement to parents, not as a replacement.
How long will my child's Big be around?
The duration of the mentoring relationship depends completely on your child, you, and your child’s Big. We ensure that all parties involved are aware that the lasting impact of mentoring takes place at the 12-month mark and that the longer the relationship lasts, the greater the positive effects. Program Specialists provide bonding opportunities and support to facilitate long-lasting relationships.
How frequently will they meet?
It is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to coordinate mentoring sessions with the Little’s Big. They must meet for 4-12 hours per month.
What if I have a problem with my child's Big?
We thoroughly screen every Big to ensure this does not happen. However, on the off chance that it does, reach out to your assigned Program Specialist to express your concerns. Program Specialists are trained and will check in with you on a regular basis to ensure everything is going smoothly. They will also provide opportunities for your child to develop a bond with his or her Big, such as group events and tickets to sporting events.
How long does it take to get a Big?
We typically have a waitlist of Littles waiting to be matched with a Big. However, that does not mean that your child won’t be matched until every child enrolled before yours is matched with a Big. Program Specialists evaluate personalities and interests of both Bigs and Littles to determine a good fit for a lasting and effective relationship. Depending on your child’s needs, finding a Big can take anywhere from three months to a year. We actively establish new partnerships and recruit new Bigs on an ongoing basis to fill the needs of our Littles and their families as quickly as possible.
I still have more questions. What do I do?
You can always reach out to us here. We are happy to answer any questions you have!
I want my child to have a Big. What do I do now?
Great! We are happy to welcome you and your child to the BBBSIL family! Simply fill out an application here to be on the list for fall enrollment. When enrollment is open, you will be the first to know.