How does the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program work?
We try to match children who are in need of consistent friendship and guidance with a mature adult role model in a one to one relationship over an extended period of time.
Referral…by mental health professionals, school officials, or members of the family.
Intake…by social workers who compile a family history, check with other agencies serving the family, meet with the youngster and his/her parent(s), and make an assessment.
Recruitment…of volunteers who are thoroughly screened by the professional staff, including an in-depth interview, a police records check*, B.M.V check* and personal references. *Varies between SBM and CBM
Matching…by the Agency’s professional staff so that Big and Little Brothers and Sisters share interests and are compatible.
Follow-up…by a continuous and careful monitoring by our skilled social workers to assure that these matches develop into positive supportive friendships.
Coordination & Referral…to assure that the spectrum of services needed by the family is met by the Agency and other community agencies.
What circumstances usually indicate that a child could benefit from this special friendship?
Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 15 years are evaluated by the professional staff regarding eligibility for the program. One or more of the following circumstances usually exist for the child and his/her family:
Single parent household
Two parent families who have special needs resulting from physical or emotional problems or unemployment
Child is lonely, has low self-esteem, or has made poor social adjustment
Parents are overwhelmed and have little time to spend with child
Child need academic assistance (i.e. tutoring or homework help)
All of these kids share one thing-the need to have a caring Big Brother or Big Sister who has the time to relate to a child.
How is Big Brothers/Big Sisters different from other support groups and mentoring programs?
For nearly 90 years, our Association has provided Big Brothers and Big Sisters to children in need. The children and their families are assessed by our professional staff to insure that we make the best one to one matches. Our Volunteers must also undergo a comprehensive intake process before meeting with a child, and we provide support, supervision and counseling services to all parties involved. Volunteers & children are covered under the Agency’s insurance policy.
Where do the kids come from & what are they like?
Most Little Brothers and Sisters are no different from other children. Although most do come from single parent homes, not all of the children come from low-income situations. Though they may have families that love and care for them, their need is still urgent. They still need an adult outside the home to be a friend.
Will this take up all my time?
All we ask is that you see the child on a regular basis (time commitment varies for each program) for at least 1 year. This lets you spend enough time together to allow your relationship to develop and your friendship to grow.
What qualifies me to be a Big Brother or Big Sister?
Whether you’re young or old, married or single, a professional or a homemaker, you can be a Big Brother or Sister. You don’t need a teaching degree or other special training. You don’t need a lot of money or even a lot of time. All you need is the desire to make a positive difference in the life of a child. No one stands as tall as when he stoops to help a child.