A Big is matched with a Little ages 6-14 with the commitment to see each other two to four times per month for a couple hours. Matches spend time together in the local community and plan their own outings, based on activities they like to do, such as playing catch, reading books, or getting ice cream.
A Big meets with a Little 2-4 times a month throughout the school year during a non-core class, extended lunch break or after school. Bigs and Littles work on homework together, play games, throw a ball around, or simply share stories with one another.
More than five million children across the U.S. have a parent in prison. Children with 1-2 incarcerated parents have a 70-90% chance of ending up in prison themselves and are more likely to face immense challenges including cycles of poverty, abuse, academic failure, dropping out of school, and even incarceration themselves. These children, coined “Amachi” for the Nigerian Ibo word meaning “who knows what God has brought us through this child”. “Amachi” signifies children who are in dire need of one more supportive, caring adult in their lives to help them reach their full potential and thrive as productive members of society.
In many religious traditions, helping others in your community is embedded within the religious culture, often seen as a way of living out religious beliefs. This call to service often leads individuals and congregations to mentoring. Faith-based mentors are those who identify themselves as religious, participate in the program as part of their religious congregation, or through the BIG HOPE Network.
Through a site-based, sponsored partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters, companies give back to the community by hosting a group of Littles from a nearby school at their corporate office. Littles meet in the workplace with an employee Big two to four times per month during the school day for an hour. Our staff manages the program on-site while Bigs and Littles play games, help with schoolwork, tour the office, or just share stories with one another.
When local high schools are positioned near an elementary school, it presents a unique school-based opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to serve as volunteer mentors to elementary students. High School Bigs meet collectively and are paired one-to-one with a Little. Group meetings are facilitated by our staff who provide structured activities, encourage reading together, and supervise the match relationships.
Being a mentor is not reserved for only young adults, but for the young at heart. Often times we hear potential mentors say, “I wish I would have done that when I was younger,” thinking they are, in their opinion, “too old.” However, with decades of knowledge, a wealth of experiences, and spare time to share, retired individuals, empty-nesters, and grandparents make the best mentors. Generations partners with these mentor-rich communities to encourage seniors to volunteer with children needing a mentor.
We recognize children with a parent in the military face unique challenges due to the stresses of military life. Military Mentoring provides services to children of those who have faithfully served our country – active duty military personnel, veterans, reservists, National Guard and those who are wounded or lost their lives – by selectively pairing them with a volunteer mentor that has a unique understanding of the lifestyle of our armed service families.
Mentoring can be better, together. By becoming a Big Couple or Big Family, you can impact the life of a child in need alongside your significant other (in a long-term relationship of at least two years) or even with your entire family. This program provides the flexibility to have outings with your “Little” both together and/or individually. It is a great way to spend time together while also positively impacting the life of a child.
One in three children will grow up without a mentor. All children can benefit from mentoring, but those who are experiencing adversity need it most. The Trevor Project estimates that LGBTQ youth make up 5-7% of the nation’s youth, with 13-15% of those in the juvenile justice system being LBGTQ. Compared to non-LGBTQ peers, LGBTQ youth:
Good mentors can change a mentee’s life trajectory by helping them learn new skills, form positive relationships, broaden their horizons, talk through challenges, gain self-esteem, and fulfill their potential.
During the school year Bigs meet as a group in the classroom with their littles to do fun activities. The idea is to enhance the Little’s writing, reading and communication skills as well as have fun.
Big Brothers Big Sisters staff attends and coordinates all the activities during the school year.
This is an opportunity for college students to be mentors to kids in our community. Through this program, our Littles benefit from being matched with young, energetic, positive role models. Activities include, homework help, reading, games and other fun activities.