1. Who can be a Big Brother or Sister?
You must be 18 years of age to volunteer in our Community Program. We do have opportunities for High School students to be involved in our School Mentor Program. Our Bigs come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit!
2. Is there a cost for me to apply?
No, our costs are covered by donations from individuals, corporations, and grants and foundations.
3. When can I see my Little Brother or Sister?
You and your Little decide together what you want to do and when and then you get parent approval. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis, weekly to bi-weekly for several hours at a time. Until your relationship is established the outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little and you.
4. How much money should I spend?
The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is to help him or her see the world through a different lens so you can inspire your Little to become something he or she never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Shoot hoops at a local park, play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. We offer donor-supported group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. You may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
5. What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Buy a comic book to read together. Play a board game. Hit a bucket of golf balls at the local driving range. Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like. 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: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
6. What if my Little doesn’t like me?
That rarely, if ever, happens. We pride ourselves on making compatible matches, where mutual interests and backgrounds facilitate the best chance possible of developing a strong bond. All of our Littles want a Big Brother or Sister. None are mandated to be in our program. They usually must wait for a while before being matched, so they are excited to meet their Big when that finally happens. If you feel you and your Little aren’t relating, reach out to our staff and they can help you sort it out.
7. Can I bring my spouse, a friend or family member on outings?
In the beginning it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. The main focus is the one-to-one friendship you develop with your Little and the impact you have on their life.
8. Can I have more than one Little?
No, it is important you have the time to devote to this one-to-one relationship. With work, family and other social responsibilities, most people are unable to keep a long term commitment to more than one Little.
9. What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist there to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
10. Will I become a replacement parent?
No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big to spend quality, one-to-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone to show them a different path, someone like you!