Volunteer FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: Being A Big Brother, Sister, Family, or Couple

Got questions about being a Big? We've got some answers! Here’s a rundown of some Big basics. If this doesn’t cover what you’re seeking, scroll to the bottom of this post for info on contacting us directly.

Who are Bigs in the program? 

Bigs come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit. 

How much time does being a Big take? 

Bigs commit to spending four (4) hours over two (2) visits every month with their Little Brother or Little Sister. You can definitely spend more time, or do more visits, in a month! In our experience, it’s the sweet spot for building a consistent, strong relationship. You’ll also need to commit to at least one year in the program.   

What can my Little and I do together? Will it cost a lot?  

Bigs and Littles hang out and talk, run errands, catch a movie, grab/make a meal together... you know, regular stuff that you liked as a kid. High-cost activities aren't necessary (they’re actually discouraged!). It’s truly the time you spend with your Little that matters most. Our Relationship Specialists are always on hand with great ideas for shared time. Bigs also get a weekly newsletter with free and low-$ ideas available around town and/or online. 

Can my spouse or friends come along? 

Not at first. It’s tough to build a trusting relationship with somebody when there's an audience! But over time, it's good for Littles to get to know people who matter to you. Just take care to prioritize your Little when there are other folks around: after all, you may be the one person in their life who's all "theirs!" 

Want your spouse or family to be an official part of the fun? A Big Couple or Big Family match could be right for you all! Read stories about these options: Big Brother Walé | Big Couple Colleen & Kashif | Big Family Wallace 

What’s does becoming a Big amidst COVID-19 look like?  

Volunteer interviews are virtual. New Bigs and Littles focus on "get-to-know-you" virtual activities facilitated by our staff. After three months – COVID-19 conditions permitting, and procedures agreed to – in-person meetings and experiences can be enjoyed. Read more on that here. 

 
How do kids become part of your program? Where do they live? 

A family member typically initiates their youth’s application process. Enrolling includes an interview with the parent(s)/guardian and Little. This helps ensure the best possible match/relationship.  

Our Littles live in St. Louis City and County, Jefferson County, St. Charles County, and Cape Girardeau County.  

How is Big Brothers Big Sisters involved once I’m matched? 

You, your Little, and your Little’s parent(s)/guardian are paired with a BBBSEMO Relationship Specialist. This trained expert helps you all grow together as you build a trusting, lasting relationship. And if there are some bumps along the way – which is natural in any relationship – our staff is here to support you all navigating the journey. 
 
How does mentoring work?  

Just like the rest of us, Littles can get stuck in one way of thinking, seeing, or going about things. An enduring relationship with a mentor opens youth to learning new things, growing in self-confidence, and making healthy choices... all because they've been introduced to what's possible, with you. 

Why should I mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters? 

Mentoring with BBBSEMO means being part of an ongoing history of proven success helping Littles do better in school, make healthy decisions, and pursue their dreams. As a Big, you get a truly unique volunteer experience because there’s only one you matched with your only-one Little. And that relationship – in aggregate with all BBBSEMO matches – has massive impacts on quality of life for young people in Eastern Missouri. (We’ve been doing that through 1:1 relationships for 100+ years. It works!)  

Have a question not answered here? 

Ericka Sanders, our Volunteer Recruitment Manager and a Big Sister herself, is just an email or call away. You can reach her at esanders@bbbsemo.org or 314-615-1041. 

At Central High School, the ABCToday network was the key driver in organizing a career day. They set up in our high school, so ALL 10th grade students could participate. 261 students got to learn about different career paths.
Christa Turner, Deputy Superintendent, Cape Girardeau Public Schools