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FAQ

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

What does Big Brothers Big Sisters do?
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for better, forever.

What type of volunteer opportunities are available?
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers a variety of volunteer opportunities including mentoring, helping out at events and even addressing envelopes! The following are a list of the mentoring opportunities we have available.

Community-Based One-to-One Mentoring: This program allows individuals to volunteer one-to-one with a child. They meet 2-3 times a month on their own time and choose the events they will do each time.

Community-Based Families for Kids Mentoring: This program allows a couple or entire family to volunteer. A Little Brother or Little Sisters is matched with an entire family who involves them in family activities. Families meet with the Little Brother or Little Sister 2-3 times a month on their own time.

Site-Based Teaming Up with Youth Program: This program pairs a volunteer with an elementary student in a school or community center setting. The programs usually take place after school for one hour each week. The matches typically work on homework and other fun learning activities and have a Big Brothers Big Sisters staff member available to supervise and assist with programming.

Site-Based Lunchbox Learners Program: This program pairs a volunteer with a student in kindergarten-second grade. The program usually takes place during the child’s lunch hour for one hour each week. The matches typically work on reading other reading-related activities and have a Big Brothers Big Sisters staff member available to supervise and assist with programming.

Who can be a mentor?
Anyone aged 16 to 116 who has reliable transportation is eligible to be a Community-Based Big Brother or Big Sister. All candidates participate in a background check and home visit and are asked to supply a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. Safety is of the utmost importance and Big Brothers Big Sisters goes the extra mile to ensure that both our volunteers and children are protected.

Individuals volunteering for a site-based program need only be 15 years of age but must have reliable transportation to the mentoring site.

What benefits does Big Brothers Big Sisters provides to volunteers?
Big Brothers Big Sisters is an extremely rewarding experience for volunteers. Volunteers should be assured that the time they spend with their Little Brother or Little Sister is making an unforgettable, life-changing difference. Being a Big Brother or Big also gives volunteers a chance to try new things and enjoy time being a kid again. Volunteering is not only easy and rewarding; it also provides treasured experiences that are unique only to Big Brothers Big Sisters programming.

The process of matching a Big with a Little:

How will I be matched with a child?
The enrollment and interview process helps us to get to know your preferences as well as the situation best suited for you. It also helps you get to know us and the program expectations. We take into account your personality, likes, dislikes, age preferences, background, and location. But the final decision is yours.

How do children come into the program?
Children and parents may hear about BBBS from a teacher, counselor, church, friend, commercials, etc. All children and their parents choose to be in our program.

Who are the children in the program?
Our Littles come from many types of home environments and family structures, different social-economic levels, ethnic backgrounds, and neighborhoods and schools across all communities. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all have a need for friendship with a caring adult.

What is the time commitment?
We ask for a minimum commitment of 1-year. However, many matches last for much longer. You should plan to see your Little at least 2-3 times per month in order to make a lasting impact.

What it's like to be a Big:

When can I see my Little?

Our Bigs and Littles decide together what they want to do and they get parent approval. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and that you see each other on a regular basis. Your local agency will provide specific guidelines on expected frequency of activities with your Little. Until your relationship is established the outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parent, your Little, and you. If your Little is younger, a shorter outing might be better.

How much money should I spend?

We discourage you from spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is friendship. You should focus your time on getting to know each other. We encourage you to seek out free or low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Our Big Brothers Big Sisters agency often offers group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles! You may also receive notices for opportunities for free tickets for your match to attend a variety of cultural and sports activities.

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 to each other, play a board game or take a ride in the car with the radio on while you discuss music! 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: have FUN! In addition to these activities, our Friendship Center (located in our Midland Office) has many activities for you and your little to enjoy - including a Big Screen HDTV and a Wii!

Can I bring my spouse/friend/family member on outings?

In the beginning it is important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. Over time it is also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. Remember that the main focus is the friendship YOU have with your Little. If you have questions about outings contact your Match Support Specialist for guidelines or suggestions.

What kind of support can I expect from BBBS once I get matched?

Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist from the agency 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 Match Support Specialist there to help. You’ll receive ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference, just by showing up!

You will be joining over 240,000 other volunteers in the BBBS family!

Donating to Big Brothers Big Sisters:

How do I make a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters?

It's easy to make a donation online! Simply click here to go to the donation form. To donate by mail, please send check or money order to:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region
2200 N Saginaw Rd.
Midland, MI 48640

To donate by phone, please call 989.631.5360.

How can I donate clothing, toys, books, household goods, a vehicle, or other items? Will Big Brothers Big Sisters pick up my donation?

You will need to contact our office to find out if we are currently accepting toys, books, and clothing donations.

For vehicle donations, including autos, boats, trailers, motorcycles, etc, please call AdessaImpact at this toll free number: 800.710.9145 or look at more information here. A synopsis of the process is as follows: when you call, answer the preliminary questions about the vehicle. The info is processed and arrangements are made to pick-up the donated vehicle from the owner. At this point the donor receives a receipt for the vehicle. The vehicle is transported to an auction house or salvage dealer, whichever is deemed more appropriate. Once the vehicle arrives at auction or salvage, it is processed and sold. The charity receives the amount of the car less vendor expenses (sales, fees, towing and vendor fees).

Where does Big Brothers Big Sisters get its funding from?

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit organization supported by funds from generous donors including individuals, federal, state and local government, foundations and corporations.

How is my donation used? (Where does my money go?)

Your donation will support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region. As a professional mentoring organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters requires resources to maintain a well-trained staff to screen volunteers, make matches, and support relationships between Bigs and Littles -- to achieve the kind of success that shows proven results.

How do I make a donation in honor or memory of someone, and let them or their family know?

Please use our online memorial and tribute gift form to make a donation in honor or memorial. When you make a gift in someone's honor we will notify the person in whose honor the gift was made and notify you that your request has been fulfilled.

How can I get involved in helping to raise funds for the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency in my community?

Contact us and ask to speak with our Director of Communications & Fund Development or Executive Director. They will discuss how you may participate in ongoing fundraising activities or explore new ideas with you.

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