We’re seeking caring adults like you who recognize the promise of Connecticut youth. People who see the best in them, who support their dreams, who are there to listen and care. Find the volunteer opportunity that’s right for you and get started on doing something big today!
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut offers children who want and need a mentor a one-to-one, long-term friendship with a caring adult. Bigs serve as friends, mentors and role models, helping young people gain greater self-confidence.
HELP UNLOCK THEIR POTENTIAL
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut, we are committed to partnering with you to recognize, ignite, and defend the potential that is inherent in every child.
Since 1966 we have been matching youth (Littles) across our state with committed adult mentors (Bigs). We support these mentoring relationships, helping to transform the lives of thousands of children and teens (as well as mentors!) for the better.
Recent studies have shown that young people matched with a Big are more confident, hopeful, and resilient. They are also more likely to do better in school, steer clear of drugs and alcohol, and enjoy strong relationships with their families.
When talking recently to mentors enrolled with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut, we learned that 94% of Bigs report enjoying a strong mentoring relationship with their Little. Meanwhile, our Littles are:
more likely to be doing
better in school.
less likely to drink
or use drugs
less likely to get in trouble at school or in their community.
BECOME A BIG - VOLUNTEER ENROLLMENT PROCESS
You’ll be hanging out with your Little in a few easy steps and we’re here to guide and support you every step of the way. Questions? See the FAQ or contact us.
STEP 1: TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
The first step in becoming a Big is submitting an online inquiry and your Volunteer Application. Both help us begin to get to know you, your background, and your aspirations as a volunteer.
STEP 2: GET INTERVIEWED
A Big Brothers Big Sisters Enrollment Specialist will conduct your Intake Interview virtually via video conference. This interview is designed to learn more about you, including your motivation for becoming a mentor, personal and professional background, interests, hobbies, passions, and expectations for your volunteer experience.
STEP 3: GET TRAINED
Our one-time, two-hour Pre-Match Training covers responsibilities and expectations of volunteers, as well as crucial youth development and safety information that is essential to becoming a successful Big. We offer this training virtually via webinar and video conference formats.
STEP 4: GET MATCHED
Once a volunteer has completed the process above and has been accepted as a volunteer, they will be matched with a Little based on experiences, backgrounds, and interests.
STEP 5: MEET YOUR LITTLE
It is finally time to choose and meet your Little! After approving your match, your Enrollment Specialist will coordinate a Match Introduction Meeting between you, your prospective Little, and their parent/guardian. This meeting is a chance for all match participants to get to know one another and determine the suitability of the prospective match within a safe, supported, and staff facilitated environment.
STEP 6: ONGOING SUPPORT
Now the fun begins! Once approved by all parties, the match becomes official and the relationship can begin in earnest. At this time, your Match Support Specialist will begin providing your match with support and guidance throughout the entire history of your relationship.
BECOME A COMMUNITY-BASED BIG
During unstructured one-to-one outings that take place over just a few hours, a couple times per month, for at least one year, you can make a huge difference in the life of young person by helping them recognize and realize their potential.
BECOME A SITE-BASED BIG
Sometimes the best place to help a child realize their potential is at school. In just four hours per month throughout the school year, you can make a difference by starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring a young person to reach their potential.
YOUR BIG QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
We’re we’re here to help you every step of the way. View a full list of commonly asked questions to get the information you need.
What are the basic requirements for becoming a Big?
Bigs must be 21 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license and be willing to commit to a long-term volunteer experience (minimum one-year, however, most friendships last much longer). Once matched, Bigs are expected to see their Littles for a few hours, a couple of times each month, for at least one year.
Who are the Bigs in the program?
Our 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.
What support is provided to Big/Little relationships?
Once you are matched with your Little, your Match Support Specialist will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. As your Little grows up, you’ll always be supported by a match support specialist that is an expert on what you need to know for your Little’s current stage in life! Anytime you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, your Match Support Specialist is here to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
How do I choose my Little?
This is what is really unique and great about BBBS. We don’t just select the next child on our list and match them with a Big. Each Big and Little are matched based on compatibility and proximity to each other; but ultimately, Bigs and Littles choose each other. Enrollment Specialists get to know each Big, parent and child that enrolls in the program. They get to know their interests, hobbies, what they are looking for in a Match, and much more. This is crucial because once a volunteer is accepted into the program, an Enrollment Specialist will begin searching for a few Littles that they think would make a good Match. They will then send a profile of a Little that they believe is a great match for you, and from there you ultimately decide if you think they will be the best fit.
Do the parents and children want to be a part of the program?
Parents that enroll their children in the BBBS program want the very best for their children. They see the benefits of introducing another caring adult role model in the life of their child. Many say that their children’s Bigs are able to talk to them about issues that are just difficult for a parent to address. That is why parents often say introducing a Big into their child’s life has not only changed their son/daughter’s life but it’s impacted the entire family. BBBS only enrolls children who want and need the program and whose parents specifically want them to be in the program, so 100% of the children enrolled are ready and excited about being matched.
When can I see my Little?
As a Big/Little team, you decide together what you want to do and then your Little gets approval from his or her parent. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis. Your local agency will provide more guidance on this. The outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little, and you.
What do I do with my Little?
Anything you like! Activities are up to each Match to schedule and participate in on their own time. You don’t have to spend a lot of money — it’s about the time. Common activities include going to get ice cream or going to a movie, playing catch or a video game, attending a sporting event or concert, hanging out at home and making dinner, or running errands. We encourage Bigs to share time instead of trying to create new time. Bring your Little on activities you were already going to do. Keep it simple and focus on getting to know each other. BBBS also hosts great Match activities and parties that all Bigs/Littles are invited to. Our Bigs are also occasionally given free tickets to events that Match Support Specialists are able to distribute to Matches.
How much money should I spend?
The quality of the time you invest with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is to help your Little see the world through a different lens so you can inspire your Little to become something they never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies offer donor-supported group activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book and read together. Buy a comic book to read together. Play a board game. Go on a nature walk. Hit a bucket of golf balls at the local driving range. Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like. You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. For children, playing can be learning. Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
Can I bring my spouse, a friend, or a family member on outings?
In the beginning its most important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little.
Will I become a replacement parent?
No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big to spend quality, one-on-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!
What if it doesn’t work out?
We do everything in our power to make a Match that we think will last. However, we realize that sometimes things come up — Bigs or Littles move, situations change, or something doesn’t work out. We will attempt to mediate the situation, but if it doesn’t work out, we will end the Match. If this happens, your Match Support Specialist will be there to support you every step of the way and handle it in the best way possible.
BE A BIG
Find the volunteer opportunity that’s right for you and get started on doing something Big today!