Be a Big

Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling things you’ll ever do. Empower a child to realize his or her full potential in life.

Here’s how becoming a Big works:

Step 1: Inquire

Review specific needs and criteria (below) and then let us know you’re interested. Our team will answer your questions and help determine the ideal program for you.

Step 2: Apply

Complete an application. Be ready to share personal info like your Driver’s License and references: child safety is our highest priority so is an in-depth process. There will be a required training and processing fee.

Step 3: Interview

Let us get to know you. This step allows us to make the best quality match possible based on a variety of factors such as distance, interests, and commonalities. This can be a quick process or take quite a few months.

Step 4: Ready to be Matched

The search begins. Big Brothers Big Sisters will begin to search carefully for the perfect Little for you.

Step 5: Introductions

Congratulations! It’s time to meet your match! This will be the start of an epic friendship. We can’t wait to share this moment with you.

Step 6: Match Support

Don’t worry, we’re still here for you! Our professionally trained staff will provide training, guidance, and support every step of the way.

Bigs must meet all of the following criteria:

Must be at least 21 years of age
Must be in a stable living situation
Commit to the program for at least one year (understanding the enrollment/matching process could take at least several months)
Must be able to meet your Little 2-4 times per month, every month
Have a valid CA driver’s license, or valid ID card
Have not been convicted of a DUI and/or have experienced alcohol or substance abuse within the last three years.
Have never been convicted of (or charged with) child abuse or molestation; convicted of using weapons or violence against others, and/or a crime of moral turpitude.
Applicants with a felony on their record (other than for the crimes just listed) must wait seven years from the date of conviction to enroll in the application process.
Must fit the current demographic needs of our Littles — we have a significant need for Big Brothers and/or bilingual speakers. Please note there’s a very low likelihood for a match if you are not in this priority group, but there are other ways to get involved (see below).

If you answered YES to all of these questions, we encourage you to take the next step to learn more and apply to become a Big!

If you didn’t check off all the boxes above you can still be part of something BIGGER than yourself. It takes more than Bigs to make our matches happen and we need your help!

Make a donation

Get involved with a community board

Explore our FUNdraising events

Discover other ways to help

Thank you for your interest in becoming a Big!

Past Applicants

If you’ve applied to be a Big with our agency within the past five years, please contact us at enrollment@bbbsba.org to check on your status or reactivate your application.

New Applicants

To create a new Big application with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, start by entering your zip code below:

The online form will show our San Francisco or San Rafael office addresses, depending on your zip code, but we also have program offices in American Canyon, Milpitas, and Oakland. If you complete your application and are selected for an interview, it may be conducted in one of those locations nearest you.

Be sure to join us for an Info Session to learn more about volunteering options and how you can help kids in your community realize their potential.

Thinking about getting involved?

Join us for one of our info sessions to learn more about volunteering options and how you can help at-risk youth in your community to change their lives for the better, forever.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is mentoring important?

Mentoring is the act of providing guidance and friendship to someone who could use a role model for life’s choices and decisions. Mentoring is proven to help kids reach goals, improve self-esteem and achieve their full potential in life.

How does our mentoring work?

It’s simple and deep. An adult volunteer develops a relationship with a young person, offering support and guidance. By spending time together, learning new things and cultivating a friendship, the mentor helps the young person make better life choices.

Why choose our programs over others?

Big Brothers Big Sisters pioneered youth mentoring in 1904. We are the industry leader in mentoring services to children. An independent national study found kids involved in our mentoring programs were more likely to graduate and stay out of trouble when compared to their peers without mentors. They also found kids improved their school grades and relationships with others.

Additionally, our programs continuously show results, characterized by three data-driven elements that most mentoring programs do not feature:

  1. Professional supervision: screening and training of the Big, considerate creation of each match, and professional supervision.
  2. Longevity: Each relationship is unique and different, thus it takes time to develop. That’s why we require matches meet to 2-4 hours per week for a minimum of one year.
  3. Developmental relationships: we support friendships between adults and kids that develop over time. These relationships prove to be highly valuable when the adult includes a kid in age appropriate day-to-day activities.

Does BBBSBA offer one-day or “done-in-a-day” volunteer opportunities?

We have a limited number of corporate-based volunteer opportunities around our agency events. Join our e-news for updates or contact us at partnership@bbbsba.org if your company would like to get involved.