Being a Big Brother or Big Sister
Can Be Life Changing
You’re not alone in recognizing the potential impact of a Big Brother or Big Sister upon the life of a Bay Area youth. It can be life changing; for both the child and the mentor.
This may explain why so many Bay Area adults wish to offer their time, energy, compassion and guidance to a boy or girl in our program. Before you decide if our program is right for you, here’s what you should know:
How does the program work?
We match one adult mentor with one child/youth in our community-based program. Match outing occur in the community at days/times convenient for both mentor and child/youth (and Parent/Guardian). Click here for more information about our programs.
What are the requirements?
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Have a valid California Drivers license, or valid ID card
- Have had no DUI within the past 5 years
- Have never been convicted of a felony or currently on probation with the law
- Can provide proof of car insurance
- Agree to be matched with a child for a period of at least one year, and meet with your Little at least 2-4 times per month (2-4 hours per visit)
- Agree to pay a $35 application processing fee to cover the cost of screening. This fee is not required until your written application has been completed and submitted and we are ready to schedule you for a one-on-one interview. (Before your interview is scheduled you will be given the opportunity to pay on-line through a secured site or mail in a check.)
How long does it take to get matched?
The time it takes from completing your application to becoming a Big Brother/Big Sister ranges anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months, or more.
However, there are areas where we have an immediate need for volunteers:
- Adult Male mentors are needed in the East Bay, South Bay and the Peninsula. There is a pressing need for healthy male role models to be matched with enrolled boys in these areas. The time it takes to become matched with a Little Brother in these communities can be relatively brief (less than a month).
- Nearly 1/3 of our waiting Little Brothers and Sisters are Hispanic/Latino and many parent/guardians request a same-ethnic match for their child. Because we have very few Hispanic/Latino adult mentors, volunteers with this ethnic background are also in great need.
Who are the Little Brothers and Little Sisters?
Generally, our Little Brothers and Little Sisters are between 6 and 16 years old. Our Littles come from many types of home environments and family structures, socio-economic situations, ethnic backgrounds, and from a variety of neighborhoods and schools throughout the Bay Area. Many are from single parent homes, some are in foster care or are living with a non-parent guardian/other family member. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all have the need for a special friendship with a caring adult.
How do children get enrolled in the program?
Children and parents may hear about BBBS from their teacher, a counselor, enrolled peers, social workers, their church, a friend, etc. No one is required or assigned to enroll in our program – we only accept children who wish to be matched with a Big Brother or Sister. And our programs are completely donor funded so enrolled families/children receive our services free of charge.
How do I know I’ll get along with the child I’m matched with?
We get to know you first, so we can find the best fit for your Little Brother or Little Sister. BBBSBA matches you with a child based on common interests, personality, geography and expectations because we know relationships are hard and want to ensure our matches can become lasting friendships. You’ll also be assigned to one of our professionally trained Match Support Specialist who serve as a personal resource for you and offer support throughout your match.
What do Bigs and Littles do together?
The program is flexible and there are no mandatory activities: you can do what you and your Little enjoy doing together or try something new. Many Bigs/Littles enjoy playing sports or riding a bike together, go to movies, help with homework, go out to lunch or cook together, do errands, go to a park or beach, play board games/video games… or just hang out. What’s most important is that you meet regularly to spend time one-on-one with your Little, as it is the relationship that develops between you and your Little which is most important.
What is the Application Process?
After completing an online enrollment form you’ll receive an e-mail confirmation along with a waiver to sign and send back, allowing us to conduct necessary background checks and contact references. Once we receive that waiver, we’ll begin the screening process. (Please note: This process can range from one month to two years or more, depending on a variety of considerations.)
Before being scheduled for a personal interview as part of this screening process, Community-based volunteers will be asked to pay a non-refundable $35 Application Processing fee. Once payment is received, you’ll be scheduled for a one-on-one interview with an Enrollment Specialist to learn more about you so we’ll be better able to identify a child who will be a good fit. When we think we’ve found a good match, we’ll contact you and share the child’s profile and see what you think. If you agree with our suggested match recommendation, we’ll schedule your match meeting to meet your new Little Brother/Sister and their parent/guardian.