News_files/Yarra Ranges Big Futures Information Pack

Yarra Ranges Big Futures In-school
Frequently asked questions
What is Big Brothers Big Sisters?
Big Brothers Big Sisters is Australia’s leading youth mentoring organisation. It is part of a global
body which operates in 13 countries. We support over 250,000 relationships between young
people and caring adults, 130,000 of which are in schools. In Australia, our organisation
supports over 1000 mentoring relationships through tailored specialised mentoring programs
What is the BIG Futures program?
In 2014 the Big Brothers Big Sisters organisation strengthened its commitment to young people
by developing the BIG Futures mentoring in schools program. This is because the organisation
realized that a young person’s best chance of a positive futures was their ability to take full
advantage of what is offered in a school setting.
Which schools are involved in the Big Futures program in the Yarra Ranges?
The schools involved in the Big Futures program are Upwey High School, Mater Christi College
Belgrave, Sherbrooke Community school Boronia K-12 College and Bayswater Secondary
Why mentoring in schools?
The participating schools are telling us they have students in their schools who have lots of
potential but, because of challenges they face, they are not fulfilling that potential. The schools
believe the support and encouragement of a caring member of the community would make all
the difference .They are excited to be partnering with their communities to make this happen.
What sort of students are in the program?
The students in the program are chosen by the school they are seen as having great potential
which is not being fully realized. Participation in the program is voluntary so the students in the
program are keen to be involved. Parents have to give permission for the children to be
What sort of people become mentors ?
A mentor is a person who cares about young people, is a good listener and is prepared to put
the time and effort to form a trusting relationship .They do not need any particular qualification
and they can come from all walks of life. They are aged between 18-80.
What will the mentors and students do?
The aim of mentoring is the development of a trusting relationship. Research shows this comes
about through the sharing of enjoyable activities. Each school will be creative in suggesting
activities which can be offered. These could be games, sharing of meals, hobbies , interests and
projects. Sometimes the mentors and the young people just chat.
What are the benefits of being a mentor?
Mentors report they find the experience of forming a relationship with a young person very
rewarding. They learn a lot about the exciting new world the younger generation inhabits.
What is involved in becoming a mentor?
It is important that we have people who are appropriate for the role. Mentors in the BIG Futures
program complete and Application Form .They are then invited to an Interview and if they are
seen as having appropriate skills a screening process is undertaken which involves a Working
with Children Check and a Police Check. Mentors are then given access to both online and face
to face training so they are fully prepared for the role they play.
What is the time commitment?
Mentors will spend one hour a week with a student in a school during term time. The usual time
for the program is lunch time. The program will not take place in school holidays. The program
will commence in Term 2 and will go on to Term 3
What sort of support will I receive?
Mentors will be supported by Big Futures Coordinator who will help them through any difficulties
that may arise. The Coordinator will also give them any positive feedback they receive from the
Is it hard to form a friendship with a young person I do not know?
Mentors are chosen for their friendliness and communication skills. Developing a relationship
may take time but it has proved to be an experience that most mentors handle easily.
How do I apply?
To register your interest with BIG Futures, please begin the application process by submitting
the Enquiry Form online
If you have any other questions please feel free to contact the Coordinators
Jeanette [email protected]
Marina Gambelli
[email protected]