Big Brothers Big Sisters partners with individual donors, foundations, corporations, governments, and others to build the critical network of support that funds and enables the work of carefully matching children with caring adult mentors and providing ongoing support to the child, volunteer mentor and child’s family.
Professionally trained BBBS staff members work with our partners in the education and juvenile justice communities to find children facing adversity and assess how our programs can have the greatest impact. BBBS targets the children who need us most, including those living in single parent homes, growing up in poverty and coping with parental incarceration.
How a Big becomes a Big — and how a Little becomes a Little.
Before we make a match, we do our homework. After someone expresses an interest in becoming a Big, they go through a background check and careful interview process. Then we match Bigs and Littles based on location, personalities and preferences. And we provide full support from the start, so matches can grow into lasting, impactful friendships. The entire matching process is made possible through donations — we can’t do what we do best without them!
What are a Big and Little to do?
Each match is unique. Getting together doesn’t require a special occasion or expensive activity — just a few hours every month doing things the Little and Big already enjoy. For example:
- Playing catch
- Reading books
- Going to a museum
- Providing advice and inspiration
- Check out our full list of PLACES TO GO & THINGS TO SEE
Some Bigs meet their Littles on the weekends. Others get together with their Littles in the evenings. Each match develops a schedule that works for them.
How To Become The Greatest Friend In The World
As a Big, you want to be the best role model that you can be. Below are a few tips that will help you become the greatest friend in the world!
- Make a contact with the child about once each week.
- Discover what the child is really like. If you understand the child, you can't help but like them. The child has a sense of humor, look for it.
- Search out the child's interests and encourage them. Show genuine interest in the things the child likes, and have fun with them.
- Take the child into your home and make them feel welcome. It may be a revelation of a new kind of environment.
- Encourage the child to call you by phone. Don't be discouraged if the child doesn't. Remember you are the one who must take the initiative most of the time for arranging the activities!
- See that the child gets to meet people... your friends, business associates, neighbors, etc.
- Let the child help plan your get-togethers. Share with the child everyday activities whether they are work-related, recreation, or family-oriented.
- Never break an appointment with the child without first giving an explanation, and then only if it is necessary. Be very honest with them. The child, no doubt, is in a sensitive, idealistic stage of development, and to the child, everything is important. Your foremost job will be to build the child's faith in you, other people, and then, finally themselves.
- Do not provide funds for the child's family. A modest gift at Christmas, or on the child's birthday is fine. You can't buy the child's friendship. The child wants your time not your money.
- Learn to know the child's family, but do not become involved in their difficulties. If they need assistance, bring this to the attention of the Big Brother/Big Sister staff. There are agencies that deal with family problems, and in most cases, the staff can put the family in contact with the proper agency.
- Keep in touch with the Big Brother/Big Sister staff worker when you have a question, need help, feel discouraged, or want to relate a pleasant experience.
- Notify the Big Brother/Big Sister office should you or your Little Brother/Little Sister move to a new location, or have a change of phone number.
- By all means, be patient with the child. It takes twenty-one years of living, and sometimes more maturing to make an adult. Someday the child will be a citizen, a parent, an employee, an adult in every sense of the word. Your help, your encouragement, your friendship will help determine the kind of person the Little Brother or Little Sister will become.
- Don't expect gratitude from the child you work with because you may be frustrated. A child may feel grateful for what you have done to help them but they may never say it or show it. They may not know how. Your satisfaction needs to come from the fact you know inside yourself you are involved in a very special act of kindness.