How long is the commitment?
We ask all potential volunteers to think realistically about whether they’re able to make a commitment of at least four semesters. The effectiveness of matches builds over time and short-term matches can be a real disappointment to a child. If you’re planning to go away soon (graduation, study abroad, distant internship etc.), we suggest that you consider other volunteer opportunities that may not require the four semester commitment.
What if I am going to study abroad?
If you plan to study abroad, you must be matched up with your little for 2 consecutive semesters before leaving. After you return from abroad, you would pick up the program for at least two more semesters.
How much is this going to cost me?
Other than providing your enthusiasm and some of your spare time, the cost of being a Big is free.
What’s in it for me?
For a few hours, a couple of times each month you get to be a kid again! Even better, you’ll make a BIG difference in your community and in the life of a child.
Who are the Little Brothers and Little Sisters?
When initially enrolled our Littles are generally between 7 and 12 years of age. The one thing they all have in common is that they want a Big Brother or Sister to call their very own. Other than that, they represent all walks of life and come from the 150 cities and towns we serve.
How do I know I’ll get along with this child?
We get to know you first, so we can find the best Little for you. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay matches you with a kid based on common interests, personality and geography. Since our Bigs are volunteers from all walks of life, we enroll and match children who can benefit from the friendship of typical caring adults rather than specialists or youth development professionals.
I don’t know much about kids — is that OK?
You bet! Behind the scenes, you’ll have a team of experts — the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay Match Support Team — cheering you on and giving helpful advice if you need it.
What if I leave Boston during the summer?
Our Campus-Based and Site-Based programs were created for college students! Meaning the volunteer schedule mirrors your college schedule and the program breaks over summer vacation as well as winter and spring break.
What if I’m LGBTQIA?
Big Brothers Big Sisters does not discriminate based on race, sexual orientation, age, or gender. We will disclose such information to the parent/guardian as part of the matching process; the parent/guardian has the option to say yes or no to the match. If they approve, we move forward with the match; if not, we work to find another Little who we believe will be a good match for you.
Am I able to ask for a match with a child of any specific ethnicity, language or national origin?
Our goal is to make matches that provide a high-quality, long-term experience. Though we do not discriminate, we try to take into account the preferences and interests of Bigs, Littles and parent/guardians. The more preferences an individual has, the longer it may take to get them matched with a Little.
What sort of background checks do you do?
All volunteers and employees are subject to background checks that include obtaining references from people who know them well. We also conduct criminal offender (CORI), sexual offender (SORI) and driving records checks.