FAQs - Mentor
Who are the kids you serve at Big Brothers Big Sisters?
We serve a diverse group of kids representing a wide range of backgrounds and cultures.
Can I choose the child I want?
We match children with mentors based on a variety of things including mentor strengths, interests, and the needs of the child. We will not put a mentor into a relationship in which he or she is not able or willing mentor a particular child. The mentor will also have the opportunity to review a summary of the child prior to the match taking place. It then becomes the decision of the mentor to accept or decline the child.
Do you offer training and support?
Prior to and throughout the match relationship, there will be training offered to all interested mentors. The match relationship is a team effort involving the child, the parent(s) or guardian(s), the mentor, and the Case Manager assigned to the match relationship.
How do I know if I will make a good mentor?
Everyone has something to offer a child. It doesn’t require any special talents, skills or income. The job description for mentoring a child is simply to be a friend and share your life with a child who wants you in his or her life.
Do the children and parents want this?
Yes. Every child and parent/guardian wants to be in the program. No one is forced or pressured to have a mentor.
How long do matches last?
The minimum commitment for Community-Based mentoring is 12 months. School-Based mentoring is designed to last through the school year and our Site-Based program has a flexible time commitment. Our average match length is 2.4 years and our longest active match is over 11 years old. Our goal is to create lifelong friendships, but the longevity of the match is up to you and the child.
What are some typical outings?
We match children and mentors who have common interests. For example, if you love basketball…we will match you with a child who loves basketball. So, when you go to a game or shoot a few hoops, simply involve the child. Typical outings can be anything that you enjoy from baking cookies to grocery shopping to fishing, etc.
How often do matches get together?
In the Community-Based program, the average time spent with a child is 2-4 hours per week. In the School-Based program, the time spent with a child is 1-2 hours per week meeting as personal and school schedules allow. In the Site-Based program, the time spent with a child is 1 hour per week.
Do I have to spend a lot of money?
No. The purpose of the match relationship is to develop a nurturing relationship built on trust, honesty, and caring. There is no price tag associated with friendship and we strongly discourage any unnecessary expenditure. There are also tax advantages and deductions for any expenses incurred and we offer numerous discounts to area businesses and activities.
What if it doesn’t work out?
Your match relationship is continually supervised and monitored by the assigned Case Manager to ensure that the match is productive to all involved individuals. Each person has something to offer a child simply by listening but in rare cases, the match can be terminated due to life changes, scheduling issues, or incompatibility.
Can I be a School-Based mentor if I’m in high school?
School-Based Mentors can be Sophomore, Junior and Senior High School students who have been referred to the program by school staff and faculty. School-Based mentors can also be found in the local business community, senior or retired populations, etc.
What are the requirements to volunteer?
Community-Based mentors must be a minimum of 18 year of age and be able to commit to at least 12 months to a child. Community-Based also requires that the mentor have sufficient transportation to pick up the child from the child’s home to engage in activities and outings in the community. School-Based mentors must be at least a Sophomore, Junior or Senior High School student who can spend 1-2 hours per week with a child in the child’s school. Site-Based mentors must be at least a Sophomore, Junior or Senior High School student who can spend 1 hour a week with a child at a designated site in the community. All mentors must complete a background check process and a series of interviews prior to the match taking place.