The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages five through 18. These positive relationships have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
For the last century, the BBBS program has paired adult volunteers with underprivileged youth. Local BBBS programs are independently funded affiliates of the national organization, which provides criteria and standards. BBBS has stringent screening criteria for both volunteers and youth to provide positive pairings. Bigs and Littles are paired based on location, personalities and preferences. Youth participating in BBBS have been shown to have reduced drug and alcohol use and improved academic performance without directly addressing these issues.
Since the screening process is so thorough, it can also be lengthy and typically requires a written application, interviews and a home assessment. BBBS will also contact the parent, youth and volunteer on a monthly basis during the first year of participation. Eligibility criteria may differ between affiliates, so be sure to check with your local organization to determine if your child qualifies to participate in the program or not.
Littles come from many types of home environments and family structures, different social-economic levels, ethnic backgrounds, and neighborhoods and schools across all communities. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all have a need for friendship with a caring adult.
BBBS requires a 12 month commitment. Bigs and Littles will typically meet about three times a month for a few hours and will be conditional on parent approval. BBBS recommends the pairs keep a consistent schedule of outings and see each other on a regular basis. Until the relationship is established the outings will also depend on the comfort level of the parent, youth and volunteer.
No specific supplies are required by the participants.
Mentors and youth are responsible for covering the cost of their outings. However, BBBS discourages spending a lot of money. The goal of the relationship is friendship. They encourage mentors to seek out free or low-cost activities. BBBS agencies often offer group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles and may provide opportunities for free tickets to attend a variety of cultural and sports activities.
Where to find Organizations
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa’s website provides extensive information about the organization and its programs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa – Des Moines Office
9051 Swanson Boulevard
Clive, Iowa 50325
What do you think, is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa a fit for your kid?