Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut offers young people 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.
ENROLL YOUR CHILD
Arm your child with another awesome adult.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut connects young people age 6-14 with a one-to-one, life-changing friendship. Bigs and Littles hang out for a few hours a couple of times per month doing normal, everyday activities, like playing sports, going for a hike, or seeing a movie.
Each match is supported by a dedicated Match Support Specialist who is always there to provide resources and support specific to the Little’s age. With a Big in their life, children and teens are empowered to reach their potential as they grow in their self-esteem, earn better grades, and develop a lifelong friendship with their Big.
UNLOCK THEIR POTENTIAL
As a parent, you recognize the potential of your child better than anyone. At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut, we are committed to partnering with you to helping your child recognize and realize that potential.
For nearly 60 years, 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 the adults who care for them!) 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.
More than 98% of young people matched with a Big by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Connecticut report enjoying a strong mentoring relationship with their Big. The young people we serve are also:
more likely to be doing better in school.
less likely to use alcohol or illegal drugs.
less likely to get in trouble at school or in their community.
GET A BIG - FAMILY ENROLLMENT PROCESS
We’re so glad you’re interested in getting a Big Brother or Big Sister! It’s truly a fun, life-changing experience for your child that connects them with another caring adult. Here are the basic steps we need each of our family applicants to complete.
STEP 1: Inquire and, Apply
The first step in getting a Big is submitting a brief, online inquiry. Once received, a member of our Inquiry Team will reach out to ensure you have all the information you need to better understand the programming opportunity, as well as complete your Family Application.
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 and your child and is a key component in making sure that we find the right mentor who matches your child’s personality, compliments their background, and shares their interests.
STEP 3: Choose Your Big
After your Big Brothers Big Sisters Enrollment Specialist identifies a suitable mentor, your Enrollment Specialist will reach out to present and discuss any potential match candidates. During this conversation, you will be provided with your Enrollment Specialist’s recommendation, including background information on each prospective Big, before selecting a match candidate that you are interested in meeting.
STEP 4: Meet Your Big
It is finally time to meet your Big! After approving your match, your Enrollment Specialist will coordinate a Match Introduction Meeting between you, your child, and your prospective Big. 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 5: Build a friendship
Now the fun begins! Once approved by all parties, the match becomes official and the relationship can begin in earnest. Parents and Littles work with the Big to communicate and schedule outings, while also connecting with their Match Support Specialist, who will be providing you, your child, and their Big with support and guidance throughout the entire history of your relationship.
STEP 6: Ongoing support
Throughout the life of your child’s match, you will be asked to regularly respond to your Match Support Specialist to provide updates on your child’s relationship with this Big, as well as complete regular program surveys. Each of these activities is aimed at best supporting your continuing child’s relationship with their Big, as well as providing you and your family with tailored support as needed.
YOUR QUESTIONS, ANSWERED
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.
Who are our Bigs?
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). These mentors are friends, role models, advocates and someone to stand with children as they realize their full potential.
How are Bigs screened and trained?
Child safety, match consistency and positive outcomes are our top priority. The application process includes: application, confirmation of identity via social security number and driver’s license, criminal history background check, driving record check, auto insurance verification, personal/family references, an extensive online interview, an in-home assessment, and ongoing volunteer training and support.
What is the role of the family?
The role of a family is very important: supporting the friendship, encouraging communication, developing your own relationship with the Big and being responsive to BBBS staff once your child is matched are all essential.
How does BBBS choose a Big for my child?
Our team will learn more about both the Big and the Little at the in-home interview and that will help us prepare for the matching process. Matches are made based on many factors. Our professional enrollment and matching team looks for Bigs that they think will be a good fit based on where they live, personality and interests, life experiences, academic and career interests, etc.
What happens after my child is matched with a Big?
That’s when the fun begins! Matches meet 2-3 times a month and stay in touch in between. Bigs and Littles choose when they hang out together and what they do (with parent permission, of course). You and your child will have a dedicated professional staff member throughout your child’s Match that will monitor the Match and offer resources for you and your family.
A part of these resources will be regularly scheduled agency events and other engagement opportunities that you will be invited to. Ranging from our program picnic and holiday party, to community events and activities, there are a number of ways you can participate alongside your child and deepen your connection with your child’s Big, as well as our agency more generally.
How long will my child be matched?
Matches can remain active with BBBS until your child reaches their educational goals. We support a variety of paths based on your child’s potential including: college, trade school, vocational training, enlistment, internship, and job placements.
What is the cost of the program?
You will never pay, nor be asked to pay, a single penny to BBBS as program enrollment and participation is completely free of change for families. However, many of our matches do elect to participate in activities that have out-of-pocket-costs for our mentors, even though we try our best as agency to promote and offer no-cost activities for matches. Examples of these activities like these include trips to the bowling alley, catching a movie together, or attending a baseball game. When/if you choose to have your child participate in activities like these with their Big, we encourage you – so long as it is not financially burdensome – to share in the cost of these outings.
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, your Match Support specialist facilitate the end of your match relationship in the best way possible.
If your child’s match does close, you will be provided a number of different options to remain engaged with our organization, including reconnecting with your Enrollment Specialist to find you an adequate rematch and/or, if your child is of high school age or older, remaining enrolled in our Big Futures Program which focuses on education, employment, and enlistment through age 26.