We ask for a minimum commitment of one year for each match we make. Matches can remain active through elementary, middle, and high school. Many of our friendships end up lasting a lifetime.
Once your child is matched with their Big, your family will be assigned a Mentor Relationship Specialist. This professional staff member will be present the first time you and your child meet their Big. They will be available to provide support throughout the lifetime of your match relationship. Your Mentor Relationship Specialist will be in regular contact with you, providing ideas for activities, guidance and coaching tips, resources, and will always be ensuring child safety.
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!
While this varies by program, in general, you and your Little will decide what you want to do then your Little will get approval from their parent. We recommend getting together on a regular basis. Your Match Support Specialist can also provide case-specific guidance on this topic. Overall, outings depend on the comfort level of you, the Little, and their parents.
In the beginning it’s most important for you and your Little 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.
During the application process, we interview you, the Little, and their parent to learn specifics that will help us make a Match. This includes age, religion, personality, family background, ethnicity, and interests. We strive to follow your preferences closely when selecting Matches. After we exchange information regarding a potential Little, you will have the final say as to whether or not this is the right fit for you.
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book and read together. Buy a comic book to read together. Play a board game. Go on a nature walk. Hit a bucket of golf balls at the local driving range. Take a ride in the car with the radio on 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!
The quality of the time you invest 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 your Little see the world through a different lens so you can inspire your Little 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. Play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies offer donor-supported group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
After you are matched, you’ll get a dedicated Mentoring Relationship Specialist who’ll stay in touch with you regularly to provide assistance and feedback. You can always reach out to them whenever you are unsure about how to handle a situation or what to do next. They’ll guide you with ideas for fun activities, advise you on handling possible difficult situations, and provide feedback on how you’re making a difference.
You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit.
Bigs must be 19 years or older, able to meet with their Little 4-6 hours per month for one year, have a valid I.D., and live or commute near Marion, Hamilton, or Johnson County. For more information, please watch this video.
You don’t have to do it alone, either. Becoming a Big Couple or Big Friends are options for couples or friends that would prefer a shared experience as opposed to each of them having a Little of their own. Big Friends are two individuals who have been “friends” for a minimum of 2 years and want to be matched together to the same Little. Big Couples have been in a relationship for at least 2 years but do not have to be married.