Volunteer FAQs,

Who are the Bigs in the program?

They are regular people, just like you! You don't need special degrees or job skills, just the desire to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit!

Who are our Littles?

Littles are children ages 6-18 looking for a positive role model in their life. Littles have a need for support in their lives—perhaps they come from a single-parent home, have an incarcerated parent, or have experienced poverty. BBBS actively engages diversity, inclusion and cultural competencies throughout our organization. We currently have a waitlist of kids (mainly boys) who are looking for a mentor from their community. They come from a variety of backgrounds with a wide range of interests. The one thing they all have in common is they want a mentor to be their friend and help them achieve their goals.

When can I see my Little?

Consistency is the most important part of the mentoring experience. You meet with your Little at least two times per month. As a "match", you and your Little decide what to do. Until your relationship is established, the outings will depend on the comfort level of you, your Little, and their parents.

What is the time commitment?

Community-based matches have a minimum commitment of 12 months, with a goal commitment through the Little’s high school graduation or 18th birthday. Matches are asked to spend 2-4 outings together each month, or at least 4 hours together.

Site-based matches have a minimum commitment of one school year, with a goal commitment through the Little’s high school graduation or 18th birthday. Matches meet once a week for 40-60 minutes. 

How much money should I spend?

The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is to help them see the world through a different lens so you can inspire them to become something they never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Shoot hoops at a local park, play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. Our staff will offer donor-supported group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big Brother, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.

What are some good ideas of outings with my Little?

Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book and read together. Play a board game. Go on a nature walk. Or hang out and talk about the music you like. You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. For children, playing can be learning. Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!

Can I bring my spouse, a friend, or family member on outings?

In the beginning it’s important for you and your Little Brother/Sister to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little and the impact you have on his/her life.

Will I become a replacement parent?

No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big to spend quality, one-on-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!

How do you match a Big with a Little?

Call us the matchmakers! In our multi-faceted approach to matching, we look to connect a youth with a mentor whom they can make a deep bond—that means personality, interests, needs, and location are all considered. The personal preferences of each youth, family, and mentor also play an important role.

What kind of support can I expect from BBBS?

Once you are matched with your Little Brother/Sister, a Match Support Specialist from the agency will be in regular contact with you to aid and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist there 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.

What kind of impact will my match have on the child?
  • Less likely to use illegal drugs or alcohol
  • More likely to stay in school
  • More likely to make positive choices for their future
Do all volunteers get accepted?

No. Being accepted into BBBS and into the life of a youth is an honor and we do our best to screen all potential volunteers for safety, reliability, and stability.

BBBS turns away volunteers for many reasons. Child safety is always our #1 priority, so if we have any child safety concerns regarding a volunteer, we will deny them from the program. We also deny volunteers if we don’t believe that this is the right time or the right volunteer opportunity for them.

Can I be a Big if I don’t know much about kids?

Yes! Being a Big is about being a friend. You already have the skills to be a Big! All of our Bigs go through volunteer training and will have the support of a BBBS Match Support Specialist to provide ideas, support, and coaching throughout the life of the match.

Can I volunteer even if I have a criminal record?

Yes. BBBS has restrictions regarding criminal records, but having a criminal record will not prevent you from volunteering. We do not, however, accept volunteers with felonies on their record.

Can I be a Big if I don’t have a car?

Our Community-based Bigs need a car, current car insurance, and a current driver’s license throughout the life of their match. Site-based Bigs do not need a car.

Do I have to be employed to be a Big?

No. However, stability is very important to provide a long-term match with a youth. Times of transition (being in-between jobs, searching for work, or just starting schooling) are not the most stable times to volunteer. We usually ask that volunteers wait until they are in a stable place before proceeding with the enrollment process. 

Does BBBS SWWA accept LGBTQ volunteers?

Yes. We value diversity and love when we can connect youth to mentors with whom they have shared experiences. No person will be denied equal because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.