FAQs FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF POTENTIAL LITTLES
How much time will the volunteer spend with my child?
There is a requirement that all Big Brothers and Big Sisters commit to one year and spend at least 4 hours per month during that year with their Little Brother/Sister.
How do you select volunteers?
Mentors first submit an application. After the application is submitted and approved, an interview is scheduled between the volunteer and a Professional Staff Member. A background check is completed to see if the volunteer has a criminal history. The background check includes the following:
- Three References are called
- Criminal background (local, state, national) checks are done
- US Department of Justice check
- DMV check
What kind of contact will I have with the agency?
Each mentor relationship is supported by a full-time Match Support Specialist to help the volunteer and child during their relationship and to address any questions or concerns the “Big,” “Little” or parent/guardian may have.
How and where will the volunteer spend time with my child?
The program is geared to be very flexible. We offer three mentoring options: community based, school based, and site based.
- Community based program volunteers meet with their “Little” freely in the community: at a playground, in the mall, over a meal, or at a museum for an hour or two, two to four times per month.
- School/Site based program “Bigs” meet with their “Little” at school or other site for one to two hours, two to four times a month. They may meet in the cafeteria or gym, a classroom, or computer lab, workplace, business and engage in a variety of activities: recreation, educational games, or simply talking about “what’s happening.”
How can my child become part of the program?
We select a wide variety of children to become a part of BBBS. They range from “straight A” students with stable families to children who come from single parent households or households where the primary caretaker may be a grandparent or guardian. To become part of the program, a parent must first submit an application. After the application is submitted and approved, an interview will be scheduled with the child and parent/guardian. Following approval of that interview, three supervised match meetings will be scheduled with a potential “Big,” a Match Support Specialist, and the parent/guardian.
How do you match volunteers with children?
We try to honor the preferences of the volunteers, the child, and the parent/guardian. Great care is taken to ensure the compatibility of the “Bigs” and “Littles,” based on the preferences, interviews, and match meetings.
What types of activities will the big do with my child?
The mentors are free to do fun, everyday activities with their “Littles.” They may go to the park, library, movies, a ballgame, or just hangout.
How long will it take to have a mentor (“Big”) for my child?
It can take as little as 30 days or as long as a year for boys in some areas. However, once a child is accepted and waiting to be matched, the child can participate in group activities that are offered to “Bigs” and “Littles.”
The Big came to pick up my child and their sibling wants to go along. Can they?
They cannot join their sibling. The mentors are set up with one child to build a relationship with. They need their one-on-one time to get to know one another. Your job as a parent is to talk to the other children ahead of time and explain the situation to them.
Something came up at home that will interrupt the plans my child had with their mentor.
Sometimes things happen that may cause a conflict in previous plans. If this happens, contact the mentor far in advance so they can reschedule. The sooner you contact the mentor the better, as they may have purchased non-refundable tickets for an outing. Most importantly, respect the mentor’s time and resources.
The mentor mentioned taking my child to Great Adventure. Who is responsible to fund this expense?
If an activity costs money the mentor may talk to you in advance to see if you are able to fund this event, if not the mentor pays for it out of their own pocket. Remember the mentors are not getting paid to spend time with your child. If and when you have it, please provide your child with spending money.
I think the mentor and I have a lot in common and I would like to spend alone time with them to develop a relationship, can I?
Keep your relationship with the mentor professional. The mentor is there to spend time with your child not you. Remember to approve all activities and confirm pick up and drop off times with the mentor in advance.
My child was acting out in school and I want to discipline them by not letting them see their mentor.
This is not a punishment or reward for your child. This mentoring relationship is going to help them develop and lead them in the right direction. This relationship is neither a reward nor a punishment. If your child is misbehaving their mentor may be able to talk to your child, and encourage them to do better. Remember, you still have the right to disapprove an activity; however, the relationship should not be threatened.
BENEFITS OF A MENTORING RELATIONSHIP
Children in our program are:
- 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
- 33% less likely to be violent
- More confident in their performance and school work
- More likely to get along better with their families
Mentoring agencies help guide responsible adults and caring individuals. In the end, mentoring agencies will help children build 18 different developmental assets that were identified by the Research Institute of Minneapolis. These assets are:
Self confidence -Ability to avoid substance abuse-Ability to express their feelings-Ability to avoid early parenting-Ability to make decisions-Exhibits trust toward others-Acquire interests and hobbies-Respect for other cultures-Good personal hygiene and appearance-Respects relationship with family-Have a sense of humor-Positive relationship with peers-Positive attitude toward school-Positive relationship with other adults-Ability to utilize school resources-Positive school performance-Ability to utilize community resources .