Frequently Asked Questions
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What is a “Big”?
- Bigs are adults ages 19+ (high school students are accepted for the school based program with parent permission) and come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles.
- They are regular people, just like you. 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!
What is a “Little”
- Littles are kids ages 5-18.
- Littles come to BBBS either through a parent/guardian or through a referral from a local school or agency.
- Littles are from single and two-parent homes and are from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds.
- The parent/ guardian of our Littles believe that their child could benefit from the presence of an additional caring adult in his/her life.
- The Littles want to spend time with a Big.
How much time does it take to be a big?
- As little as one hour a week during the school day for the School Based program or 8 hours a month for the Community Based program.
- Community Based: Bigs, provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention doing activities in their community. Typically, Bigs meet with their Littles 2-4 times per month for a couple of hours – Commitment: 1 year.
- School Based: Bigs provide Littles with one-on-one time and attention in local schools during the child’s school day. School based matches meet one time per week, for one hour. Commitment: 8-9 months.
- Couples Mentoring: A Big Couple’s match provides a unique opportunity for married couples or couples in a long term committed relationship on a case-by-case basis. It’s a community-based match, very similar to that of the one-to-one program, except that the couple is matched together with a Little Brother. They still meet with the child and spend time with him at events or activities in the community, but the program provides some flexibility to the spouses within the match. They can participate with the child together as a couple, or if one spouse is particularly busy one week, the other can participate with the child individually. The child not only benefits from the addition of two caring adults in his life, but he also gets to see first-hand how two adults interact in a healthy, loving relationship. The Big Couple’s Program is great for any committed couple, but particularly for the younger couples or the “empty nesters” with grown children
How much money should I spend?
- The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend.
- We do not 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 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.
What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?
- Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about.
- Buy a comic book to read together.
- Play a board game.
- 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!
Can I bring my spouse, a friend or family member on outings?
- In the beginning it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This happens best on a one-to-one basis.
- Over time it’s 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.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
- Once you are matched with your Little Brother, a Case Manager from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback.
- Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have your Case Manager there to help.
- They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
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 I become a Big?
- Inquiry - We need some basic information about you to get the process started. Give us a call or inquire online. (You will be taken to BBBS America site. Don't worry, we will still get your inquiry when you submit the form)
- Application & Interview - Once we have completed your inquiry we will send you an application. We will also schedule a time for you to meet with a Case Manager. The interview offers us a chance to learn about you and your interests so we have a good understanding of what type of child to match you with. It takes approximately one hour. Please bring your completed application, driver's license, and auto insurance to your interview.
- Eligibility Confirmation - We conduct criminal background, driving history, and personal reference checks. Once all information is received by our office, we can determine your eligibility for participation, and we will let you know of our decision. This process can take several weeks.
- Match Presentation - After we have confirmed your eligibility you will come back into the office to select which Little you would like to work with. We will select 2-3 Littles that we think your would work well with based on your interview. You will learn a little bit about each one and pick which one you think you will work best with.
- Match Meeting - After you have selected your Little, we will then set up a meeting between you, a Case Manager, the child, and the child's parent/guardian. We will discuss agency ground rules, complete any remaining paperwork, and you will be able to start meeting with your Little!
- Volunteer training - You are required to complete the volunteer training within the first three months of your match. This training allows you to address any concerns that have come up within the first few months of your match. It also allows you to network with other Bigs in the program and see that is working for them.
How long does it take to be matched?
- The total time from interview to matching is usually about 4-5 weeks. It is a lengthy, but necessary, process. We appreciate your patience and understanding!
Are there other ways I can contribute to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Great Falls?
- Yes! Big Brothers Big Sister is a volunteer driven organization and there are numerous opportunities to volunteer and help support our agency’s mission. We often need help with fundraising, events, and general office needs. Contact the office to learn about our current needs.