For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has helped children realize their potential and build their futures.
As a parent or guardian, you understand the potential of your child better than anyone. We simply pair your child with a mentor to defend and ignite that potential. We know that the more positive people in the life of a young person the better.
Once a youth application is received from your family, we will be in contact to arrange an interview with the parent/guardian, and the child. Information gathered during the interview enables our staff to match Bigs and Littles based on interests, personalities and geographic areas. Our staff then provides ongoing support and supervision for the duration of the match.
We ask for at least a one-year commitment from the parent/guardian, the child, and the volunteer so that the relationship has a chance to grow and provide the most benefit for the child.
“This program has been a great experience for me and I would encourage any up and coming high school student to join it. It makes you feel good to be involved with your community in a supportive way.”
High School Big Brother, Owen
“I love hanging out with my Little! She doesn’t care what we do as long as she is with me.”
Big Sister Sheila
“A lot of things would be different in my life but, thanks to Arlene, my life is so much better with her in it.”
Trinity, Little Sister to Arlene
“I love having the pleasure to experience meeting with my Big every week! We played games, got to know one another’s hobbies, our likes and dislikes and got to spend time with one another! Last year was really a great year!”
Little Sister, Emily
“I have been able to talk to Matt about things I wanted to learn. Matt gave me an older male figure in my life when I did not have one”
Stephen, Little Brother to Matt
Am I the right person to be a Big?
If you are 18 years of age and older, reside or work in Cumberland or Salem County, and would like to spend time with a child who will benefit from having your friendship and your positive influence, then you have the potential to be a great Big!
Students in 9th – 11th grade can be Bigs in our High School Mentoring Programs across Cumberland & Salem Counties.
Do I need special training or experience to be a Big?
Not at all! The most important qualification for a Big to have is a genuine desire to enrich the life of a child by sharing everyday activities and experiences with them. We do require that our Bigs be prepared to make a 1-year commitment to their Little, and have a vehicle with current auto insurance. In addition, our highly qualified staff provides Bigs with a mandatory training session as part of our application process.
How Do I Become A Big?
The process to become a mentor begins as soon as you let us know that you are interested in applying to become a Big through our website, email, or phone. Your contact information will be collected so that a member of our program management staff can call you to discuss volunteer eligibility, explain the intake process, and to answer any questions that you may have. After that initial contact, we will send you an application or you can apply online. Once your application is received, we will call you to schedule an interview. After you are interviewed, the remaining steps will be completed including additional reference checks, home assessment, background checks, fingerprinting, and mandatory mentor training. Once all steps are completed, your completed file will be assessed for acceptance or non-acceptance, and you will receive a letter indicating this decision. Our enrollment process is designed to ensure the safety of the children in our program and prepare our mentors for a healthy and successful match.
How will I be matched with a child?
Our enrollment process is designed not only to ensure the safety of our youth, but also to help us select the right Big for each child. We get to know you first, so our program staff can properly match you with a child that we feel will be a compatible and successful match. We take into account your life experiences, personality, interests, experience with youth, preferences, and location. We then look at the children in our program waiting to be matched and recommend a match based on all information gathered from the volunteer, child, and parent.
Who are our Littles?
Our Littles are generally between 7 and 16 years old at their time of enrollment, and they come from different ethnic, economic, educational, and family backgrounds. Some may be facing social, emotional, or academic challenges. Their parent(s)/guardian(s) recognize that they have a need for a positive role model, and they come to us directly or through a professional referral by a teacher, guidance counselor, therapist, social worker, etc. On any given day, we typically have approximately 50 children who are waiting to be matched. This why our need for volunteers is so urgent.