Could your little one use a Big?
It all starts with the right role models. And Big Brothers Big Sisters is the place to start a relationship with one. For over 100 years, we’ve been able to recruit, screen, match and support mentoring relationships that have changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people across the country — one Little at a time.
You’ll feel the impact as much as your child.
A study for Big Brothers Big Sisters found that kids matched with a Big Brother or Sister*:
We need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved every step of the way. You know what’s best for your child. So we’ll need your help from the start, providing information about your child’s strengths and needs, and ultimately approving the Big Brother or Big Sister match. But your role doesn’t end there.
Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways, including:
SAFETY FROM THE START
Your child's safety is extremely important to us. Big Brothers Big Sisters conducts a thorough background check on every volunteer in our program, and every relationship is closely monitored and supported by a professionally trained match coordinator.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FROM PARENTS AND GUARDIANS.
How do I enroll my child?
We currently only have one eligibility requirement: your child must be between the ages of 6 -14.
The enrollment process is quick and easy. Just give us a call or click here. We'll take down some basic information, and then schedule an interview for you and your child.
Our enrollment staff member will conduct a thorough and important interview with you and your child so we can make a great match. Interviews take place at the Ithaca Youth Bureau or over Zoom, depending on your preference.
Before your child is matched, both you and your child will complete a Pre-Match training which covers rules and policies as well as child safety information.
Click here to start the process of enrolling your child.
Who are the Big Brothers & Sisters?
Big Brothers and Sisters are volunteers from the community who have decided that they would like to play a positive role in the life of a local child. They come from all walks of life and range in age from 18. All volunteers have committed to spend about 2 hours a week for at least 1 full year with your child.
How do you make sure that the volunteer is safe and appropriate?
1) A thorough interview by our enrollment staff, including questions about background, upbringing, philosophy's about children and discipline, level of commitment, etc.
2) A thorough background check conducted at all of the following levels: City of Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York State, and National (College police are also contacted in the case of college volunteers.)
3) Each volunteer provides 3 references that must provide positive feedback.
4) Each volunteer attends an initial pre-match training to ensure that all program rules and policies are understood and will be followed. Volunteers must agree to follow updated Covid safety policies.
How long will my child have to wait?
Because there are many children waiting to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister, your child will have to be added to our wait-list before getting matched. The amount of time that each child waits depends on a variety of factors such as location, gender, any special needs, etc. Currently, kids (especially boys) may have to wait up to a year.
Beyond the numbers:
Read what parents said about their children being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister.