“Bigs”? - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte


Big Brothers Big Sisters

of Greater Charlotte

Little Moments. Big Magic.


Who is Big Brothers Big Sisters of

America (BBBSA)?

• Matching children with adult volunteers since 1904

• Largest national network of mentoring organizations serving children, families, and communities

• 480 affiliates nationally and internationally

Who is Big Brothers Big Sisters of

Greater Charlotte (BBBSGC)?

• Founded in 1972

• Serving Mecklenburg County for 37 years

• Served 1,718 children in 2008

• Governed by a board of directors with members from banks, private companies, and other businesses or organizations.

Our Vision

Successful mentoring relationships for all children who need and want them, contributing to better schools, brighter futures and stronger community for all.

Our Mission

Helping children in need reach their full potential through professionally supported, one-to-one mentoring relationships with measurable impact.

Who We are….

Enrollment and Match Specialist (EMS): Your EMS will guide you through the enrollment process and help make the best match possible for your child

Match Support Specialist (MSS): Your MSS will contact you and your child’s Big on a regular basis to make sure that the match is going as smoothly as possible

Our Programs

Community-based: For as little as 2-4 times a month, Bigs and Littles meet in their community to share fun activities and a little bit of themselves.

School-based: Bigs and Littles meet once a week in schools, libraries and community centers, to talk and have fun. It’s not about being a tutor--it’s about being a friend!

Amachi: Amachi, a Nigerian word of hope from the Ibo people means “who knows but what God has brought us through this child.” This program connects children who have a parent in prison with caring mentors from all walks of life.

Our Impact

Research shows that our mentoring works. Kids with a Big Brother or

Big Sister show real differences in their personal and academic lives. In Greater Charlotte:

• 75% of youth in our programs have improved their relationship with their peers

• 85% of youth in our programs have indicated more self-confidence

• 83% of youth in our programs have improved their academic performance by at least one letter grade

• 94% of youth in our programs have avoided delinquent behavior

• 96% of youth in our programs have avoided substance abuse

Am I eligible?

In order to be eligible to become a Little Brother or Little Sister in our communitybased program, the child must:

Live in



Be 5-14 years old

Live in a one-parent household

Not have a close, ongoing relationship with absent parent

Be capable of benefiting from a relationship with a Big

Need a Big due to needs not being met by absent parent

Want a Big and understand the Big’s role

Enrollment process

Agree to the

BBBSGC application and screening process

Parent and child must complete separate interviews with BBBSGC

Permit the agency to contact the absent parent if deemed necessary

Sign a consent form so that information may be shared with


Understand the roles of a


Encourage and support the child’s relationship with the Big

Enrollment Process

• BBBS will gather information to learn more about you and your family through your: o Enrollment forms o Interview (with both parent/guardian and children) o Home Assessment

• If your family meets all agency guidelines, they are accepted into the program.

• When the enrollment process is complete and your family has been accepted into the program, you will be notified and placed on the waiting list until a suitable Big can be found. Your EMS will then contact you every 90 days with an update.

• When a potential volunteer is found, all parties are notified.

• Once you are officially matched your match is transferred to your MSS.

Reasons Files Close

• Failure to return/respond to telephone calls/e-mails from your EMS by the deadline

• Missed two scheduled appointments

• Missed a scheduled match twice

• Failure to submit necessary paperwork

• Application denied due to failure to meet BBBSGC guidelines

• Other

Parent/Caregiver’s Role

You are our Partner.

Working together, parents and caregivers, volunteers, and BBBS staff members plan activities and opportunities that can have a powerful and positive impact on your child.

Parent/Caregiver’s Role: What

YOU can do to help

• Be welcoming—get to know your child’s Big!

• Make sure your child is prepared for each outing with their Big (i.e. proper clothing, ready on time, limited spending money if needed)

• Make sure that you know details of each planned activity (and have given your approval in advance)

• Do not ask for special favors

• Talk to your Match Support Specialist on a regular basis

• Work for a long-lasting relationship

Little’s Role

To have a friend you have to be one!

A Little can treat their Big as a friend by:

• Sharing their feelings and how things are going at home, school, and with friends

• Helping Big decide what they will do together

• Saying thank you at the end of each match outing

• Realizing that their Big is a friend because they want to spend time with them

• Understanding that friendship doesn’t mean their Big has to buy things or take them special places

• Calling their Big since they like to get phone calls too. Also, calling their Big as soon as possible if they can’t go on a planned outing.

• Being neat and clean for activities with their Big

What’s wrong with this statement?

“Adam why can’t you be more like your sister? She and her Big get along so well. I just don’t think you are trying hard enough.”

“Jada, it really disappoints me that you failed this math test. Until you can bring your grades up, I don’t want you spending time with your Big Sister.”

“Hi Shana! Sorry we’re late. I’m just so busy today. Do you think you could take Darius’ younger brother Michael along too this time?”

“Hey Mom! I had so much fun today with my Big Brother! We rode on his new motorcycle all around town! I know you don’t like for me to do stuff like that but I figured it would be okay since my Big was with me.”

“Look Mom! My Big Brother gave me a new X-Box and this awesome bike for my birthday!

And he says he has more presents for me next time!”

How do we select our “Bigs”?

Written application

Background check

Three references

Professional decision

Questions about home environment

In-person interview





Volunteer’s Role: Who are our


• Men and women who work and live in your community

• High school and college students from nearby schools

• Retirees, military men and women, members of congregations or civic organizations, and…

Just ordinary people that are extraordinary!

What do matches do when they get together?

Bigs are required to meet with their Little 2-4 times a month and do things like:

• go to the park

• watch a movie

• bake a cake

• go to a ballgame

• Other activities that they both enjoy doing

What do matches do when they get together?

Our main goal is Child Safety.

When your child returns home from an activity with their Big, it’s very important that you talk openly with them about the activity:

• What did they do?

• Where did they go?

• Who else was there?

Make sure that your child feels okay when they’re with their Big!

Child Safety: A Top Priority

Children’s safety is our #1 priority.

While our staff carefully screens each volunteer, we need your help to make sure the relationship is healthy and the volunteer is making good judgments about your child’s safety on outings.

Child Safety: A Top Priority

Some patterns you should discuss with your MSS:

• Your child’s Big wants to spend more and more time with your child

• Your child’s Big often invites other children to join them in activities (siblings, child’s friends, etc.)

• Activities always take place in private settings, such as a

Big’s home, camping setting, overnight visits, etc.

• Your child’s Big takes an excessive amount of pictures or videos of your child

Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff members are required to report any suspected abuse or neglect of a child. Our staff and volunteers are trained to respond if a child tells them about abuse.

If you have any further questions or would like more information on violence prevention, please don’t hesitate to ask our staff for additional resources.

If at any time you suspect that your child is being harmed, please contact your MSS for support.

How your MSS works with You,

Your Child, and Your Big

Bigs and Littles work with a Match

Support Specialist (MSS) from their BBBS agency. Your MSS is the main link between you, your child, the Big Brother or Big Sister, and the agency.

How your MSS works with You,

Your Child, and Your Big

Finds information and resources that you might be interested in

Connects you with community resources

Keeps you updated on activities offered by the agency

Helps you communicate with your child and their


Works with you on any conflicts that might come up

How MSS works continued…

Our goal is for the match to be as successful as possible for everyone! To help make this happen, your MSS will be in touch with you, your child, and your Big on a regular basis.

It is YOUR responsibility to…

• Respond to phone calls, e-mails, and letters promptly

• Return yearly surveys promptly

• Share thoughts (positive or negative) no matter how small they may seem

• Ask questions

• Tell MSS what is working and what is not

• Support BBBS by attending BBBS sponsored events and encouraging friends, family, and coworkers to learn more

Reasons to contact your MSS:

• To question your child’s safety or well-being

• Discuss general concerns you are having about the Big Brother or Big Sister

• Report any changes in address or phone number

• Report any emergency situations or your child’s illness

• Report any important family changes

• Report success stories about your child’s progress or special honors

Reasons Matches Close

• Lack of communication or support with Big

• Lack of communication with Match Support Specialist

 not responding to regular MSS/agency contact attempts

 not updating contact information

• Major life changes (moving, marriage, etc.)

• Lack of cooperation

• Not following BBBS guidelines


We hope you found this training to be informative. Please feel free to write down any questions you have, and discuss with your

Enrollment and Match Specialist during your interview.

 Please complete the quiz sent via e-mail and bring it to your interview

Thank you. We look forward to working with you and your child!