Have Questions About Being a Big?
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the Bigs in the program?
Our Bigs 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.
Must be 18 years of age (or a junior/senior at Solon High School, for Spartan Life)
Must be able to commit to at least 18 months
Must be able to provide transportation
Must be able to pass all background and enrollment checks
Must maintain regular contact with BBBS staff through the duration of the the match
When can I see my Little?
In the Community-Based Program, as a Big/Little team, you decide together what you want to do and then your Little gets approval from his or her parent(s) or guardian(s). You meet for 2-4 times each month, for 6+ hours total each month; we recommend you keep a consistent schedule of outings to make this easy. We regularly host fun group activities for matches that choose to participate. Your outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little, and you.
For School/Site-Based Program, the school will assist in determining a time and space during the school day that will allow the Little the opportunity to see their Big without missing academic periods.
How much money should I spend?
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.
What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?
For Community-Based Matches, 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.
And follow us on Facebook, where we frequently share about free and low-cost community events!
For School/Site-Based Matches, we have partnered with the schools to have board games, recreational equipment and craft supplies available to you.
Can I bring my spouse, a friend, or a family member on outings?
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.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little, a Mentoring Specialist from our agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Mentoring Specialist there to help. They’ll help provide you with ideas for activities, training and guidance for handling difficult situations, and education 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 am I protected as a mentor?
BBBS makes safety our top priority for our Littles and Bigs both. We train Big, Littles, and families how to be safe before entering into a match, and regularly and independently check in with each party to verify safety protocols are being followed.