Thank you for your interest in becoming a Big!
While you wait to hear from a BBBSSM team member, we encourage you to download our Big Experience resource to get an inside look at what it’s like to mentor a Little in Southern Maine.ACCESS THE GUIDE
What makes a good Big?
The answer is simpler than you might think. It’s not about having a specific background, job title, or advanced degrees. At its core, being a good Big is all about one thing – your commitment to positively impact a young person’s life. Even being in their life for just one year, you can have a lasting influence.
You don’t need to be a superhero or possess extraordinary talents; you just need to genuinely care about making a difference in a young person’s world. Role models come in all forms and from all walks of life. Your unique background, culture, and experiences bring a fresh perspective to mentorship, can expand your Little’s world and help them reach their potential. Just by showing up, being yourself, and dedicating a few hours of your time and attention, you can create a lasting, positive impact.
Is it expensive to be a Big??
The short answer is no. In fact, it’s not about how much money you spend; it’s about the quality of the time and connection you share with your Little. We discourage extravagant spending on outings. The essence of this relationship lies in helping your Little see the world from a different perspective, inspiring them to believe in their potential. If you do decide to spend money, we recommend budget-friendly activities like playing a game together, sharing a pizza, or drinking hot chocolate. BBBSSM also organizes group activities, generously supported by donors, which provide fantastic opportunities to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big, you might also receive notifications for complimentary tickets to cultural and sports events, allowing both you and your Little to enjoy enriching experiences without the financial burden.
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.
Do Bigs receive training or support once we’re matched?
Absolutely, once you’re matched with your Little, you won’t be left to navigate the journey alone. A dedicated Program Manager from our agency will maintain regular communication with you to offer support and constructive feedback. Whenever you find yourself uncertain about how to approach a situation or need guidance, rest assured that a skilled Program Manager will always be just a call, email, or text message away. They are there to provide insights on handling potential challenges, and offer valuable feedback to help you understand the significant impact you are making in your Little’s life. We’re here to ensure your match is successful and your mentoring experience is rewarding.
We also offer a number of events with our Big community to create friendships and support systems with one another. Knowing other Bigs and hearing their stories can create a dynamic support group for you to rely on during your experience as a Big!
How are matches made?
Our Program Managers invest time in getting to know every Big, parent/guardian, and youth who join our program. They dive into interests, hobbies, expectations from a match, and more. This deep understanding is pivotal because once a volunteer is accepted into the program, the Program Manager embarks on a quest to put together a strong match. They’ll then present the Big with a profile of a Little whom they think would be the best fit. From there, the decision is in the Big’s hands to determine if this match aligns with expectations and preferences. We ask that Bigs take 24 hours to think about this potential match before approving or declining this Little. It’s about empowering Bigs to make a choice that feels right and meaningful.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little, a Program Manager from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist there 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.
As a Big, once you approve this Little, your Program Manager then repeats this process with your potential Little and their family, also asking them to take 24 hours to review the potential match before approving or declining.
It is possible the Little/family may decline the match. This does not mean you won’t be an excellent Big! The family/Little may have a very specific idea of what they are looking for in a Big and this match didn’t seem to be the right fit. Please don’t get discouraged, we will keep looking for the best Little for you.
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!