Frequently Asked Questions
95% of our littles report having increased self-confidence because of their bigs.
Frequently Asked Questions about our agency
What is a “Big”?
- Bigs are volunteer mentors, ages 18+ (16-17 year olds accepted with parent permission in the School Based program) and 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.
- They 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!
- Littles are kids ages 6-18 (BBBS enrolls new Littles up to age 16).
- Littles come to BBBS either through a parent/guardian or through a referral from a local school or agency.
- Littles are from single and two-parent homes and are from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.
- The parents/guardians of our Littles believe that their child could benefit from the presence of an additional caring adult.
- The Littles want to spend time with a Big.
- As little as 45 minutes a week over a lunch hour for the School-Based program to 6-10 hours a month for the Community-Based program.
- Community-Based: Bigs provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention doing activities in their community. Typically, Bigs meet with their Littles 2-4 times per month for a couple of hours. Commitment: 12+ months.
- School-Based: Bigs provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention in local schools during the child’s school day or after-school program. School-Based matches meet one time per week, usually for 30-60 minutes. Commitment: 12+ months.
- Couples Mentoring: A Big Couple’s match provides a unique opportunity for married or otherwise committed couples. It’s a community-based match, very similar to that of the one-to-one program, except that the couple is matched together with a Little. They still meet with the child and spend time with him or her at events or activities in the community, but the program provides some flexibility to the spouses within the match. They can participate with the child together as a couple, or if one spouse is particularly busy one week, the other can participate with the child individually. The child not only benefits from the addition of two caring adults in their life, but they also get to see first-hand how two adults interact in a healthy, loving relationship.
- The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend.
- We do not encourage spending a lot of, if any, money on your outings.
- The goal of the relationship is to help your Little see the world through a different lens so you can inspire them to become something they 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 you were going to have for lunch anyway.
- Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about.
- Read a comic book together.
- Play a board game.
- Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like.
- 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!
- 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.
- Over time, it’s 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.
- Once you are matched with your Little, a Case Manager from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and feedback.
- Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Case Manager 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.
- No. Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big to spend quality, one-on-one time with them - someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!
- Inquiry - We need some basic information about you to get the process started. Give us a call at at 406.442.7479.
- Orientation - An hour-long public orientation for potential Bigs details who we are as an agency, our programs, the enrollment process, and eligibility requirements. Orientation is mandatory for enrolling Bigs, so RSVP for the next available time by calling 406.442.7479 or register for an upcoming date here. At orientation, you can fill out an application and a Child Protective Services Release of Information form.
- Interview - After orientation, we will schedule a time for you to meet with a Case Manager. The interview offers us a chance to learn about you and your interests so we have a good understanding of what type of child to match you with. It takes approximately one hour.
- Eligibility Confirmation - We conduct criminal background, driving history, and personal reference checks. Once all information is received by our office, we can determine your eligibility for participation, and we will let you know of our decision. This process can take several weeks.
- Match Meeting - If you are eligible, we will also let you know of a child we think would match well with you. We will then set up a meeting between you, a Case Manager, the child, and the child's parent/guardian (or school staff if the School-Based Program). We will discuss agency ground rules, complete any remaining paperwork, and you will be able to start meeting with your Little!
- The total time from interview to matching is usually about 6-8 weeks. It is a lengthy, but necessary, process. We appreciate your patience and understanding!
- Yes! Big Brothers Big Sisters is a volunteer driven organization, and there are numerous opportunities to volunteer and help support our agency’s mission. We often need help with fundraising, events, and general office needs. Contact the office to learn about our current needs at 406.442.7479.