Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is a mentor?
A mentor is an adult who, along with the child’s parents, provides young people with support, counsel, friendship, reinforcement and constructive example. Mentors are good listeners, people who care, people who want to help young people bring out strengths that are already there.
What are the benefits of mentoring?
It’s fun, it’s simple, and it makes a profound difference in the life of a child. Sharing the benefit of your experiences with a growing child is a great way to give back to the community. Both Bigs and Littles often tell us it’s the best thing they have ever done!
How does Big Brothers Big Sisters differ from other youth organizations?
Our agency directly interacts with each child as an individual and not as part of a group of his or her peers. We focus on promoting positive behavior through a team approach comprised of the Big, the parent, and our staff. Through our unique one-adult-to-one child method, Big Brothers Big Sisters complements without duplicating the efforts of other youth agencies.
What areas do you serve?
BBBS of Central Virginia serves the cities of Lynchburg & Bedford, and the counties of Amherst, Appomattox, Bedford, and Campbell.
How much time does being a Big require?
It takes so little to make such a big difference. We ask that Community-Based “Bigs” spend at least eight hours per month with their “Little” and Site-Based “Bigs” are asked to spend at least one hour a week with their “Little”.
Will I have to spend my own money?
It costs nothing to become a Big Brother or Big Sister. While the amount of money you spend on your Little is up to you, we stress that volunteers should not begin their match by trying to win over the children with gifts (if you start off buying lots of things, a Little might come to expect you to buy them things).
Who are the Little Brothers and Little Sisters?
Little Brothers and Little Sisters are children 6-14 years old, who are in need of a positive influence in their lives–someone to have fun with while receiving guidance and support outside of their immediate family. The majority of children in our program are involved because their parent(s) or guidance counselor recognized the need for specific attention. Our Littles come from all racial, ethnic, religious, and socio-economic levels.
How are children referred to Big Brothers Big Sisters?
We receive referrals directly from parents or guardians, school guidance staff, and other community agencies. We ask that no child referred to Big Brothers Big Sisters have a background of serious or documented behavioral or disciplinary problems.
I don’t have much experience with children. How will I know what child is best for me?
Our Matching Service professionals are highly-qualified and sensitive to making the best match possible for you. During your interviews, you will be asked a series of questions that will give our staff the information necessary to appropriately match you with the right Little. The more we get to know you, the better we can make the match. Our professional staff supports you before, during and after your match.
What are the age requirements for volunteers?
Volunteers in the Community-Based program must be 18 years of age or older. Site-Based volunteers must be at least 16 years old and have parental permission.
Can couples, or people with children of their own, volunteer?
Most definitely. We accept singles, couples, and people from every walk of life. Couples who choose to do so may opt to be matched as a couple to one child.
How far do I need to travel to see my Little Brother/Sister?
The agency makes all efforts to match you with a Little Brother/Sister who is close to your home or work. During the interview, you’ll want to tell the BBBS Enrollment Specialist how far you are willing to travel.
What about liability issues?
Because the child is with the volunteer with the parent’s permission, and because of waivers signed by both parties, there is minimal liability.
Is there training available?
Yes! During the match application, your Enrollment Specialist will give you the tools, information and training necessary to make your match a successful one. Of course, a Match Support professional will support you with answers to any questions that you may have before and during your match. We also offer trainings and informational sessions throughout the year touching on topics such as Gang Prevention, Family Issues, etc.
How do I become involved?
Just contact us and let us know you want to mentor a child. One of our staff members will be happy to help you.