Below are some frequently asked questions. If you can’t find the answers here – contact us.
First and foremost, mentoring is about being a friend to a child or youth. For more information you can go through our online orientation.
Mentors make a difference in so many different ways! See our success stories for testimonials from Little Brothers, Little Sisters and their parents.
About Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters
We encourage Bigs and Littles to choose activities they both enjoy. Caseworkers do their best to match mentors with a Little Brother or Little Sister who has interests similar to theirs. Many agencies organize group activities for matches, and are sometimes given tickets to movies, sporting events, and cultural events which they offer to their matches.
Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies offer a wide variety of mentoring opportunities, and the programs offered vary from agency to agency. See Mentoring Programs for all the programs our agency provides.
It doesn’t have to. Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages no-cost and low-cost activities, and in most agencies it is not the responsibility of the mentor to pay for the child or youth.
You will be assigned a caseworker, a trained professional who is there to support you in your match with your Little Brother or Little Sister. You will be required to have regular contact with your caseworker, and we also encourage you to contact your Caseworker at any time to discuss how the match is going, what activities you are enjoying together, and any issues that you may be having.
No. Mentors may decide to help out with these types of activities every now and then, but this is not a requirement. An exception would be Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programs that focus on assisting the Little Sister or Little Brother with their homework and studies.
Yes. See our online orientation for more information.
About the Process for Becoming a Volunteer
Check out the page Apply to be a mentor for an overview of the steps involved.
No. As prospective mentors go through the application and assessment process, the agency may determine that a mentoring role is not right for them. Prospective mentors themselves may also decide the time is not right to take on this role.
Several steps are taken. For example, all prospective volunteers must provide a satisfactory criminal record check and three or four satisfactory references. For more information on requirements see our online orientation or call us.
You will need to go to your local RCMP or Police Department. Your local agency will be able to provide you with information on the location of the police station as well as their hours of operation.
This varies across agencies, and also depends on the time it takes for the application process to be completed. Contact us to learn more.
When matching you with a Little Sister or Little Brother, your caseworker carefully reviews your application, noting your stated preferences, activities you enjoy, your background, personality, where you live, and other information gathered during your interview. All of this information is carefully considered in order to make a compatible, comfortable match for you and your Little Brother or Little Sister. Before introducing you to your Little, your caseworker will call you to tell you about the child to make sure you are comfortable and to answer any questions you may have. In some agencies, you may have an opportunity to meet the child before the match is made. You do have the option to say ‘no’ – we want everyone to be excited about a new match.
Help with Making Your Decision
In addition to going over the information in this section, you may wish to complete our Self-Assessment Checklist in our online orientation or contact us to get answers to other questions you may have.
Most definitely! Most Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have no upper age limit to volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters – just be prepared to get in touch with your inner child!
Yes! It doesn’t take much knowledge or experience to be a friend and positive role model, and the caseworker is always there to support you.
This depends on the agency policies as well as the program you are volunteering for. Having a vehicle may be necessary in remote or rural areas; however, in urban centres some matches rely entirely on public transit. This is something you should discuss with your caseworker prior to being matched.
Most likely, yes. Talk with your local agency – some offer programs with different commitment requirements. They will let you know if there is a program that might work for you. You may also want to start out by volunteering in another way, for example by helping the agency out with a fundraising event.
Occasional absences are to be expected, whether for vacations, work responsibilities or illness. If you are going to miss an outing, discuss your plans with your caseworker, your Little Brother or Little Sister and his or her parent or guardian prior to your absence.