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EMPOWER YOUR CHILD'POTENTIAL

ENROLL A CHILD

As a parent or guardian, you recognize your child's potential better than anyone.

 

By giving your child the opportunity to be part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, you are starting them down a path to an even brighter, more promising future. Our one-to-one mentorship programs help Littles see better grades, better social skills, and more confidence.

 

We are enrolling children aged 5-17 across our 12-county service area!

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ENROLLMENT STEPS

1. INQUIRE / APPLY Learn more about our programs and see if it's the right fit for your child. If you haven't completed the full application, we will ask you to do so now.

2. INTERVIEW One of our wonderful Program Specialists will sit down with you and your child to get to know you both better and answer any further questions you may have.​

3. TRAINING After you and your child's interview, a Program Specialist will go over some training with yo and your child. There is a short course that parents/guardians will complete on our Learning Management System.​​

4. MATCH PRESENTATION When the Program team makes a match, they will schedule a call with you and your child to tell you about the Big they found! You can ask any questions and share your thoughts on the match before moving forward.

5. MEET YOUR BIG! Once a match is approved, a Program Specialist will schedule and facilitate an introductory meeting between you, your child, and their new Big. We will complete some paperwork and get to know each other with fun games to get the match off to a great start!

6. ONGOING SUPPORT Program Specialists will schedule calls within two weeks of the match introduction meeting to discuss how you and your child are feeling and then call once a month throughout the first year of the match.​

Mother and Daughter Portrait

FAMILIES AS PARTNERS

Parents and guardians are not just part of the process; they’re part of the success.

When it comes to the future of our children and the well-being of our communities, we’re all in this together.  So it should come as no surprise that we need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved every step of the way.

Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of their Big Brother or Big Sister.  Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways, including:

  • Approving activities and outings for your child and their Big

  • Asking your child questions about those outings and sharing what you learn with BBBS agency staff

  • Reporting your child’s progress and milestones to BBBS regularly (BBBS will work with you to schedule monthly calls, but we welcome communication anytime)

  • Participating in training on child safety offered by BBBS and communicating with your child about the training they receive.

HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT ENROLLING A CHILD?

Our team is here to help you every step of the way. Please feel free to reach out with your questions! Visit our Programs page for more detailed information about each of our program options.

  • 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.
  • What is Big Brothers Big Sisters?
    Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit agency that creates professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships (matches) between youth (Littles) and caring adult role models (Bigs) to ignite the potential of youth.
  • How am I matched with a Little?
    This is what is unique about BBBS. We don’t just select the next child on the list and match them with the next Big. Each Big and Little are initially matched by BBBS based on compatibility and proximity to each other. Our Program Specialists get to know each Big, parent/guardian and Little enrolled in the program. They get to know their interests, hobbies, what they are looking for in a match, and much more. This is crucial because once a volunteer is accepted into the program, the Program Team will begin searching for a Little they think would make the ideal match.
  • Who are the children in the program?
    Children are usually referred to our program by a teacher, guidance counselor, or their parent/guardian. They are usually struggling emotionally, socially, academically, or behaviorally. Our Littles are between the age of 5-17 years old. Children can stay in their match relationship until they turn 18 or graduate from high school.
  • What is the commitment for a Big?
    Bigs and Littles both commit to meeting for one year for our community-based program and for one school year in our site-based programs. During this year matches get together two to four times each month. Thought the commitment sets a minimum expectation, many of our matches turn into lifelong friendships.
  • What are the requirements to be a Big?
    18 years or older for community-based programs and 15 years or older for high school Big program Must live or work in our service area: Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston, Olmsted, Wabasha, Winona, Buffalo, Crawford, Grant, Jackson, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, Trempealeau, Vernon counties. Complete online application process, interview, and references Pass a background check Valid driver’s license and auto insurance Have a reliable car for transporting Little Volunteer Bigs MUST connect with Program Specialist monthly during the first year and quarterly after a year of being matched One-year or one school year commitment
  • 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 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 and the impact you have on their life.
  • What kind of support can I expect once I am matched?
    Once you are matched with your Little, our team of Program Specialists will be in regular contact with you to help answer questions and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Program Specialist there to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, provide guidance for handling anything that may arise, and support with feedback on how you are making a difference.
  • Can couples and families be Bigs together?
    Yes, couples and families can volunteer together at our agency! This is a great way to include your loved ones in the Big Experience. What does that mean? Couples and families that apply to mentor a child will go through the enrollment process the same as an individual - each completing the steps separately. Once approved and matched with a child, outings will start with all members planning and enjoying outings together.
  • How much money should I spend?
    The quality of time invested 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. Shoot hoops at a local park, 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?
    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! Check out our Activity Ideas for more options!
  • Do Bigs receive any training before and after being matched?
    Yes, we provide training to all our new Bigs that covers what BBBS is and what we do, your role as a Big, and child safety to help prepare you for your match. In addition, the Program Team will be there every step of the way to offer customized support while you are matched. We also provide ongoing workshops and trainings to better support you and your Little.
  • Do the parents and children want to be in the program?
    Parents/guardians that enroll their children in the BBBS program want the very best for their children. They see the benefits of introducing another caring adult role model into their life. Parents/guardians often say introducing a Big into their child’s life changed their Little forever and had a positive impact for the entire family. BBBS only enrolls children who want and need the program and whose parents specifically want them to be in the program. The result is 100% of the children enrolled are ready and excited about being matched with a Big
  • Besides volunteering, how can I help?
    Head to our Donate and Events pages and read about ways you can financially support Big Brothers Big Sisters of the 7 Rivers Region - our mission, our cause, and our kids.
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