Commitment is an essential part of a successful match. Every Little in our program is looking to be matched with a caring adult mentor for a minimum of a year! To ensure you are having an impact, we ask for 2 to 3 outings per month, but we acknowledge that there are circumstances that can impact this commitment: travelling, holidays, health, etc. It’s important to make sure to inform your Little and their family ahead of time if you must cancel or reschedule an outing. Also, let your Little and BBBS know in advance if you are going to be travelling or are aware of any upcoming events that would impact your commitment. We ask for volunteers to create and maintain a clear line of communication between them and the Little’s family to ensure match success!
We encourage free to low-cost outing experiences. Matches typically enjoy going for walks in their community, going to the park, attending museums, and even engaging in local community events! BBBSEM has several partnerships in the greater Boston area, Cape and Islands that offer discounts to Bigs & Littles. Many YMCA locations are accessible within our partnerships for Bigs & Littles to take advantage of for free!
HERE is a list of activity ideas and local partnerships.
We know that the most effective way to recruit new mentors is through you! Please click here to refer a Volunteer/Big!
Great question! There are several things you can do to get involved at BBBS! Consider posting on social media to spread the word, help coordinate information sessions in the community, or refer people in your network you believe could be great mentors!
Please feel free to contact us if you would like to find other ways to get involved! Please click here to connect with US!
Community-Based Program: This is our traditional match in which adult mentors are paired with children ages 7-12, and agree to see each other for a few hours, a couple (2-3) of times a month. Each match is hand-selected by our team based on shared interests, geography, and personality. Bigs and Littles plan their outings filled with things they enjoy doing, like sports, going to the beach, or listening to music. Partnership and active communication between the Big and Guardian are critical in forming a successful, healthy a safe Community-Based relationship
School-Based Program: Volunteers are matched one to one with youth and meet approximately once a week at a particular site at scheduled times for about an hour. We work collaboratively with local schools, after-school programs, and other sites (Paul E. Dever, for example) to match youth with adult volunteers.
Campus-Based Program: In areas where we are not able to match as many youths as we would like to due to public transportation access, we partner with local colleges to bring kids to the local campus. In this program, youth are matched with college students and spend time together on campus typically on Saturdays for several hours. Transportation is provided for kids to and from the college campus and activities are facilitated by a trained BBBSEM Program Coordinator. An example of a Campus-Based program is the Boston College & Franklin Field program.
Mentor 2.0 Program: It is easier than ever to become a mentor! Mentor 2.0 is Big Brothers Big Sisters’ technology-enriched one-to-one youth mentoring program directly targeting high school students. Mentor-mentee pairs build their relationships through weekly online communication and monthly in-person meetings at the Mentee’s school.
Great question! BBBS is currently creating a learning portal for Bigs to have access to resources to be fully informed on the best ways to form healthy and positive connections with a Little. Bigs also have access to program information through their assigned Match Support Coordinator, who will support you throughout your match experience, providing resources, advice, and outing opportunities.
Bigs also have access to our curated online resources, providing them with a list of community resources, activity suggestions, match information/advice, training, and more. BIG HELP is a resource platform for Bigs and families, designed by Match Advocates to use in conjunction with Match Support calls to help plan outings, cultivate youth development, foster academic success, understand common match difficulties and most importantly reiterate program safety. This tool has been designed to increase your knowledge and overall confidence as a Match partner, providing an easily accessible resource for all match participants.
Also, new Bigs looking for additional support outside of match support calls have access to the wisdom of our veteran Bigs by way of “Big 2 Big”, a group of experienced Bigs from our program who are available to support new Bigs as they navigate their role as a mentor. B2B members are available by appointment & calls are optional.
During the enrollment process, Bigs will be informed of the program logistics, expectations, and safety guidelines from our BBBS enrollment staff. Bigs will be given access to resources to ensure their overall understanding of the program’s expectations. During the Matching process, Bigs will be coached with tailored information on how to form a connection with their specific Little. The Enrollment staff will also ensure that the match party is first, comfortable being matched and secondly, has updated program information/expectations before officially starting their match.
While matched Bigs of course have access to the BBBS staff! Bigs will have regular and required monthly connections with a Match Support Coordinator from the agency for the duration of the first year than connect quarterly after the first year (every three months). Your Match Support Coordinator is a great support system to ensure safety, provide resources, give tailored advice, and troubleshoot any challenges in the match. Matches will also get the Match Hub, a monthly newsletter providing resources, partnerships and opportunities in the community.
Bigs also have access to our curated online resources, providing them with a list of community resources, activity suggestions, match information/advice, training, and more. For access to our BIG Portal please click here.
Yes, you! It’s really simple. All you need to do is have fun with a great kid doing stuff you already do (or want to do) like: visiting a museum, play sports, enjoy free tickets to events, wash your car, go hiking or explore new places. Whatever you decide!
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.
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.
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.
Yes! If you’re 18 years or older (currently, our oldest active volunteer is 80!) and can be a good, responsible friend who’s willing to build a friendship over time.
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.
Other than providing your enthusiasm and some of your spare time, the cost of being a Big is nominal. The focus should be on doing everyday activities with your Little. We often provide Bigs with free tickets you can use to take your Little to sports games, museums, cultural events, etc. You’ll also receive newsletters that let you know about low/no-cost events in the community. Plus, you may be able to claim an itemized tax deduction for any out-of-pocket expenses you might incur.
HERE is a list of free/low-cost activity ideas and a list of local partnerships who offer BBBS discounts!”
Yes, we try to match volunteers who don’t have cars with children living close to public transportation. We also offer a Zipcar discount to our actively matched Bigs, so be sure to ask us about it!
At this time we are only able to serve English and Spanish speaking families, and hope to expand this as resources allow.
Generally, where it is most convenient for you — near your home, your work or somewhere else where you spend time and can commute to relatively easily. In areas where we are not currently enrolling children, we’ll ask you if you’re interested in being matched with a child living in another nearby community.
Usually, we like to make matches where the Big and Little are within 7-10 miles or up to 30 minutes by public transport. Beyond this, travel takes up too much time and this can undermine the longevity and quality of a match.
In the Community-Based Program it’s up to you, but most matches meet on the weekends. Bigs and Littles in the School/Site-Based Program generally meet during weekday lunch periods or after school.
We welcome any college students who plan to live locally for at least a full year! There are three program options you can choose from to best fit your schedule and needs. Learn more about them here.
We ask all potential volunteers to think realistically about whether they’re able to make a commitment of at least 12 months. 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, junior year abroad, distant internship etc.), we suggest that you consider other volunteer opportunities that may not require a one-year time commitment by contacting The Mass Mentoring Partnership.
BBBSEM is welcoming to and actively seeking to match members of the LGBTQ+ community. We are working hard to foster a culture of inclusion and support in our offices and within our matches.
As a part of these efforts, 100% of BBBSEM employees participated in trainings so that we could receive our Gender Diversity Inclusion Business Certificate in January 2022. BBBSEM staff continues to commit to internal learning on supporting the LGBTQ+ community to best support all Bigs, Littles, and Guardians.
Yes, we value everyone’s input in our matching process and match based on preferences.
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.
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.
We handle this on a case-by-case basis. It is important that you disclose this to us and address it fully. In some instances an offense may not be an obstacle because it is minor or long ago. In other instances, for example a case that is still open, it is a disqualifier. If we decide to go forward, we will always share the facts with the parent of any child we are considering as a potential match for you and they will have the final say on whether or not the match is approved.