Get a Big

We recruit, screen, match and support mentoring relationships that have changed the lives of thousands of young people.  All children 6 – 15 years of age are eligible to apply for a Big Brother or Big Sister. 

Find a “Big” mentor near you

It’s a big step for your child. But we assure you it’s the right one. Enrolling kids with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area gives them a chance to appreciate their unlimited potential and develop into even more responsible, successful, well-rounded individuals.
Kids matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister have proven to be:
more confident
more likely to steer clear of drugs and alcohol
more focused on school
better able to get along with their family and friends

You know what’s best for your child. So we’ll need your help from the start, informing us of your child’s needs and approving the match.

Testimonials from Parents/Guardians

I'm very satisfied and grateful... this program and I have seen great change in my children in regards to new special interests as well as joy from the bond they share with their Bigs.

My son is becoming more open with others...

...and learning to interact with other adults. His Big is our extended family member and we love him so much!

My son loves and admires his Big so much.

Even though he doesn't see him very often, knowing that Jeff is his Big Brother has a huge impact.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has really helped my child connect with a positive male role model.

My son really enjoys the outing and activities. More than anything, hanging out with Mark brings him joy.

We start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs, meeting national standards of excellence by requiring each volunteer to complete an extensive screening process that includes:

Completion of a formal written application
Background and reference checks
An in-person interview
An orientation and training process that outlines the individualized needs of a child and information and resources on how to encourage your child’s development.

We also provide child safety tips to families, and we welcome your questions and feedback. Throughout the match, our professional staff will be in communication with you, your child, and your child’s Big. It’s the best way to build a strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future success.

When it comes to the future of our kids, we’re all in this together. Parents and guardians are involved every step of the way, starting with the initial match. You provide us with information about your child’s strengths and needs, as well as approving the selection of the Big.

Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways:

Approve activities and outings for your child and their Big
Ask your child about those outings, and share what you learn
Report your child’s progress and milestones to us
Participate in training on child safety

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Big Brothers Big Sisters have any results to prove success?

We measure the impact of services by administering a nationally-accepted test known as the Youth Outcomes Survey. This survey supports positive short-term and long-term outcomes for youth in three main areas: educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, and increased social and emotional well-being.

What is your service area?

We serve kids in all nine Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma. Our primary office is in San Francisco, with satellite offices in Oakland, Milpitas, and American Canyon.

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.

You have hundreds of kids waiting for Big Brothers or Big Sisters. How long do they wait?

Our recently matched children waited 6 months or more for mentors to enter their lives. Those who are yet to be matched are still waiting and it may take over a year. Volunteers are the essence of our mentoring relationships. However, there are more volunteers then professional support staff time to make the matches, so we need financial support to engage these volunteers and reduce the number of kids on our waiting list.

How many kids do you serve?

We serve nearly 1,000 kids in need throughout the Bay Area annually in our mentoring programs.