How often to Bigs and Littles get together?
Bigs and Littles typically get together weekly. On average, Matches spend 2-4 hours together each time they meet up.
What support is provided to our match?
Once you are matched with your Little, your match support specialist will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Throughout the life of your match relationship, you will be supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters! Anytime you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, your match support specialist is here to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
Do the parents and children want to be in the program?
Parents that enroll their children in the BBBS program want the very best for their children. They see the benefits of introducing another caring adult role model in the life of their child. Many say that their kids' Bigs are able to talk to them about issues that are just difficult for a parent to address. That is why parents often say introducing a Big into their child’s life has not only changed their son/daughter’s life but it’s impacted the entire family. BBBS only enrolls children who want and need the program and whose parents specifically want them to be in the program, so 100% of the children enrolled are ready and excited about being matched.
How do I choose my Little?
This is what is really unique and great about BBBS. We don’t just select the next child on our list and match them with a Big. Each Big and Little are matched based on compatibility and proximity to each other; but ultimately, Bigs and Littles choose each other. Match support specialists get to know each Big, parent and child that enrolls in the program. They get to know their interests, hobbies, what they are looking for in a Match, and much more. This is crucial because once a volunteer is accepted into the program, a match support specialist will begin searching for a Little that they think would make a good Match. They will then present a profile of a Little that they believe is a great match for you, and from there you ultimately decide if you think they will be the best fit.
What do I do with my Little?
Activities are up to each Match to schedule and participate in on their own time. You don’t have to spend money — it’s about the time. Common activities include going for a hike, playing catch or a video game, attending a sporting event or concert (BBBS Often receives gifts of free tickets to local events), hanging out at home and making dinner, hitting the beach, snowshoeing and sledding, or running errands. We encourage Bigs to share time instead of trying to create new time. Bring your Little on activities you were already going to do. Keep it simple and focus on getting to know each other. BBBS also hosts great Match activities and parties that all Bigs/Littles and families are invited to.
Do Bigs receive any training or help once we're matched?
Yes, your enrollment includes Pre-Match Training to help you understand the roles and expectation of being a Big and will walk you through situational scenarios to help prepare you for your Match. In addition, your match support specialist will be there every step of the way to offer customized support as your Match progresses. We also partner with several organizations that provide workshops and trainings that are beneficial to all parties.
What is a Big couple or a Big duo?
A Big Couple is a pair of Bigs who are in a long-term relationship and want to be matched together to the same Little. Big Couples do not have to be married, but must be in a long-term relationship for at least one year. This a great option for couples that would prefer a shared experience as opposed to each of them having their own Little. We want our Bigs to integrate their Little into their lives and this often means your Little spending a lot of time with your family and friends. The benefit of a Big Couple is now both Bigs have the option of going out one-on-one with their Little OR all three can go on outings together. Our Big Couples love the flexibility this gives their Match.
A Big Duo is the same concept as a Big Couple except we match two people who are connected in other meaningful ways – We'll match siblings, longtime friends, Mother/Daughter or Father/Son Duos, or co-workers, etc. to the same Little. It's an opportunity to enrich a child's life as a team.
What is a family match?
A Family Match is a great opportunity for families with older children (typically teens) to share a fun and rewarding experience. The whole family is matched to a Little and works together to offer support and friendship to the child.
How does a virtual match work?
In our virtual mentoring program, we encourage Bigs and Littles to communicate and “hang out” virtually.
They might play games, cook, read, do a project together, or tell jokes via Facetime, Zoom, the BBBS app, or other platforms. Matches may also choose more traditional means of staying connected such as sending letters or postcards, texting, or chatting on the phone. Matches might meet strictly on a virtual basis or a mixture of virtual and in-person meetings, depending on everyone’s comfort level and government mandates. Are you concerned that you aren’t tech-savvy? No worries! The staff of Big Brothers Big Sisters is happy to help you get connected.
How long can a match last?
We ask for a minimum commitment of one year for each Match we make. That is often not the end, though — many of our friendships end up lasting a lifetime. We'll provide professional support to a Match until the Little reaches 21 years of age.