Enrollment FAQs

Answers to our most frequently asked questions!

How are Little Brothers/Little Sisters introduced to the agency?

Children and their families are referred to the agency by schools, other social service agencies, clergy, relatives, or the families may call on their own.

How do Little Brothers/Little Sisters become “Littles”?

The child and the parent are asked to complete an application and are personally interviewed by a professional staff member to help best determine the exact need in each situation. They are all voluntarily a part of the program.

What are matches based on?

A match is based on such factors as geographical location, personality, needs, and interests as well as the volunteer’s, guardian’s, and Little’s preferences.

When is a match made?

A match is made after a family and a volunteer have been accepted into the program. Our staff carefully consider all of the matching needs of each party. Then, Bigs and Parent/Guardians are called and told about the other party. If the Big and Parent/Guardian approve, a Match Meeting is set up at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office. Our staff facilitate time for the Big and Parent/Guardian to get to know each other, the Big and Little also have some one-on-one time. If everyone approves, we will move forward with the match. If anyone has questions or wants time to think, that is okay, too!

Do we have to pay to sign up?

No! Our program is entirely free for all participants. We are able to provide our programs for free because of the generous support of our community. Click here to learn how to support our programs.

Who pays for activities?

We encourage low-cost/no-cost activities—it should be about the time that the match gets to spend with each other! However, we also know that matches will occasionally want to spend money. Each match can decide how to pay for activities: each party can pay for themselves, Bigs can pay for Littles, Bigs and Parent/Guardians can take turns paying, or the match can create a budget for each month!

Our agency provides monthly activities throughout the year for our matches to attend at no cost. Some of our activities have been fishing, tennis, pool party, rock climbing, and volunteering at the animal shelter.

What happens after I’ve been matched?

Throughout the match, the professional staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters continue to support the Little, Big, and parent/guardian. Each match talks to their Match Support Specialist each month to discuss activities, relationship development, and child development. Match Support Specialists are trained to coach through concerns or conflicts and are always checking for child safety. We are here every step of the way!

What kind of activities can matches do?

Activities could include: riding bikes, playing sports, cooking, gardening, hiking, playing video games, going to the movies, going out to eat, making crafts, reading, or just hanging out. For safety reasons, we do not allow: overnight visits, real rock climbing, ATV’s/dirt bikes, guns, or airplane/helicopter rides. Outside of those activities, it is just up to the Big, Little, and Parent/Guardian to approve whatever activity might interest them!

How many children has Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington served?

Hundreds of children have been served by Big Brothers Big Sisters since this agency started in 1985. Big Brothers Big Sisters was originally started in 1902 in New York City.

How is Big Brothers Big Sisters funded?

Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on our community to support our mentoring services. The majority of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ funding comes from fundraising events and private donors including individuals, foundations, businesses, service clubs, and faith-based organizations. Federal and local government also funds Big Brothers Big Sisters. For more information, click here.