LOADING SOMETHING BIG

Be a Big

WE’RE SO GLAD YOU’RE INTERESTED IN BECOMING A BIG BROTHER, BIG SISTER OR BIG COUPLE. IT’S TRULY A FUN, LIFE-CHANGING VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE THAT GIVES THE INVALUABLE GIFT OF YOUR FRIENDSHIP. HERE ARE THE BASIC STEPS WE NEED EACH OF OUR VOLUNTEER APPLICANTS TO COMPLETE.

1Talk to BBBS Staff

Learn more about the commitment and if it's the right fit for you.

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2Volunteer Application

The next step is to complete the full volunteer application online.

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3Volunteer Interview

The written interview will help us learn more about you and who would make a good Little for you.

Complete Interview

4Home Visit & Training

Meet your Case Manager and complete your home visit and training with our professional staff.

5Choose Your Little

We will present you with potential Littles, once you pick him/her it’s time to meet your Little.

Programs

Big Opportunities

01

COMMUNITY MATCHES

Big Brothers and Big Sisters are volunteers at least 18 years of age who are willing to be a positive influence in the life of a child. These volunteers spend the amount of time required to form and maintain a relationship with children ages 6- 18. The volunteers act as role models and friends to the children with the goal of increasing their self-confidence as well as being a support system for them.

02

SITE BASED AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM

During the school year, caseworkers coordinate and supervise the Site Based Program, a school-based initiative that pairs high-school volunteers (the “Bigs”) with elementary and middle school students (the “Littles”) during after-school hours. Homework assistance, games, snacks and important social time is supervised at schools throughout Summit, Medina, and Stark counties.

Still Questioning Becoming a Big? Take Our Quiz!

BBBS-SMS Exterior

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Requirements

Our Littles Deserve the Best

Bigs must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license and be willing to commit to a long-term volunteer experience (minimum one-year, however, most friendships last much longer).

They must also do the following:

  • Complete the Volunteer Acceptance Process
  • Work with a Case Manager to select a Little Brother or Little Sister
  • Initiate contact with your Little on a consistent basis to schedule activities
  • Meet consistently with your Little for at least 12 months
  • Maintain ongoing communication with the Big Brothers Big Sisters staff

Faqs

Your Questions, Answered

We're here to help you every step of the way. View a full list of commonly asked questions to get the information you need.

Q1.HOW OFTEN DO BIGS AND LITTLES GET TOGETHER?

We offer two mentoring options: Traditional or ACES mentoring. Traditional Bigs will choose a Little between 2-7th grades to meet with once a week for at least a year. All of our Traditional Littles come from one-parent or non-traditional homes (raised by someone other than their parent). ACES Bigs will choose a High School aged Little to meet with twice a month.

Q2.WHAT SUPPORT IS PROVIDED TO OUR MATCH?

Once you are matched with your Little, your Case Manager will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Anytime you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Case Manager 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.

Q3.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 children’s 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-SMS 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.

Q4.HOW DO I CHOOSE MY LITTLE?

This is what is really unique and great about BBBS-SMS. 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. Case Managers 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 Case Manager will begin searching for a few Littles that they think would make a good Match. They will then send in-depth profiles of the children to you and from there you ultimately decide which child you think would be the best fit to be your Little.

Q5.WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LITTLE?

Anything you like. Activities are up to each Match to schedule and participate in on their own time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, it’s about the time. Common activities include going to get ice cream or going to a movie, playing catch or a video game, attending a sporting event or concert, hanging out at home and making dinner 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-SMS also hosts great Match activities and parties that all Bigs/Littles are invited to. Our Bigs are also occasionally given free tickets to events that Case Managers are able to distribute to Matches.

Q6.DO BIGS RECEIVE ANY TRAINING OR HELP ONCE WE’RE MATCHED?

Yes, your Home Visit will serve as an in-person training and will walk you through situational scenarios to help prepare you for your Match. In addition, your Case Manager 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.

Q7.CAN I CHOOSE WHETHER I WANT A LITTLE SISTER OR A LITTLE BROTHER?

We only make same gender Matches. Big Brothers are always matched to Little Brothers. Big Sisters are matched to Little Sisters and Big Couples are matched to Little Brothers.

Q8.WHAT IS A BIG COUPLE?

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 Brother. Big Couples do not have to be married, but must be in a long-term relationship. 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.

Q9.WHAT IF IT DOESN’T WORK OUT?

We do everything in our power to make a Match that we think will last. However, we realize that sometimes things come up, Bigs or Littles move, situations change or something doesn’t work out. We will attempt to mediate the situation, but if it doesn’t work out, we will end the Match. If this happens, your Case Manager will be there to support you every step of the way and handle it in the best way possible.

Q10.HOW LONG CAN A MATCH LAST?

We ask for a minimum commitment of one year for each Match we make. Matches stay in the Traditional program until the Little is in the 8th grade, at that time they transition to our ACES program where they may remain active through at least the Little’s first year of post-secondary education. That is not the end though, many of our friendships end up lasting a lifetime.