School-Based Mentoring FAQs

Hello Guardian(s)!
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay is proud of our efforts to collaborate and include the voice of our guardians in all the steps in our mentoring process.  Our School-Based Mentoring program takes place at a child’s school or afterschool site but we would still love to include you in our program as much as possible. For starters, we’ve included some basic responses to our FAQs.  Please read this page to learn more about our programming.  Having a general sense for how our programs work is the first step to being an active support of your child in our program. 

What is School-Based Mentoring?
The School-Based Mentoring program matches adult volunteer mentors (Big Brothers and Big Sisters) with boys and girls (Little Brothers and Little Sisters) in elementary schools and afterschool programs. The goal of the program is to provide children with 1:1 adult attention, guidance, and friendship to help them reach their fullest potential.

How does the program work?
A Big Brother or Big Sister would meet with your child once a week for approximately 45 minutes on school or afterschool grounds. Bigs and Littles are required to commit to the match for one year, though many choose to continue beyond this time frame. Depending on your child’s interests and needs, these visits can consist of activities such as playing sports, reading, playing games, doing art projects, or just hanging out and talking. School-Based Bigs are not permitted to visit their Little outside of the school or afterschool setting without pre-approved agency and parent/guardian consent. A Big Brother or Big Sister staff person will provide ongoing support for the match, including regular phone calls to the parent/guardian in order to monitor progress and to make sure the child’s needs are being met. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the agency at any time to discuss the match.

Who are the Bigs?
Bigs are at least 18 years old and come from a range of backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences. They are caring, motivated adults who enjoy spending time with kids and who want to help them excel. All Bigs are carefully screened by our professionally trained staff before being matched with a child. The screening process includes reference and criminal background checks (CORI/SORI) as well as a personal interview.

How will my child be matched with a Big?
A program staff member will meet with your child at his/her school or afterschool site to gather information regarding his/her interests, personality, strengths, needs and some basic family information. The parent/guardian will be contacted over the phone after this interview takes place. We will also speak with school personnel to gain further information to assist us with the matching process. This information will be shared with your child’s Big to assist him/her with planning activities that will benefit your child. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay do not discriminate on the basis of age, race/ethnicity, religion, marital status, sexual orientation or disability. If you have preferences regarding the Big who may be matched with your child please include them on the attached permission slip; we will do our best to ensure a meaningful and comfortable mentoring experience for you, your child and the Big.

When will my child be matched with a Big?
Our goal is to match your child with a Big that is right for him/her, so that s/he has a positive and rewarding relationship. The length of time it will take to be matched is difficult to predict, but typically ranges from a few weeks to a few months. Although we will do our best to find a Big for your child, we cannot guarantee a match.

What kind of program evaluation will be conducted?
We are committed to ensuring that we provide the best mentoring experiences to children and we are continuously evaluating the success of our programs. With your permission, your child may be surveyed to help gauge the effectiveness of our program.

What if I have more questions? Get in contact with us here.