We believe that all children should have the opportunity to succeed in life and live up to their full potential. Some kids need someone to help them along that path.
Spend a few hours 2 times a month as a mentor to a child and you can make a BIG impact in that child’s life. It’s rewarding and fun!
+ Adults age 18 and over
+ Must pass a background check
+ Have a valid CA drivers license and auto insurance
+ Commit to at least one year in the program
+ Big Couples (two volunteers) must meet all of the above requirements and be married or in a relationship of 2+ years. For more information on being a Big Couple, click here.
Your first step in becoming a mentor is to sign up for an upcoming volunteer orientation. Orientation sessions last one hour.
If you are unavailable during the volunteer orientation dates offered below, please schedule a 15-minute phone orientation with volunteer relations specialist Tarah Morton by clicking here.
HOW IT WORKS
Sign up for an orientation below to learn more about the commitment.
Volunteers will receive an application to complete and return to our enrollment team prior to their interview.
An in-person interview allows us to make thoughtful matches based on factors like personality, interests, schedule and geography.
After being accepted into the program and matched, volunteers will meet their new Little and the child’s family for the first time at our office.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who are the mentors ("Bigs") in the program?
Our mentors come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit!
When can I see my Little?
As a Big/Little team, you decide together what you want to do and then your Little gets parent approval. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis. Your local agency will provide more guidance on this. Until your relationship is established the outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little and you.
How much money should I spend?
The quality of time invested 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 him see the world through a different lens so you can inspire him to become something he never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Shoot hoops at a local park, 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 Brother, you may also receive notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.
What are some good ideas for outings with my Little Brother or Little Sister?
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Buy a comic book to read together. Play a board game. Hit a bucket of golf balls at the local driving range. Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like. In addition, the agency hosts over 60 events annually that are free to attend and include everything from kayaking and kickboxing to beach days. You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. For children, playing can be learning. Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!
Can I bring my spouse, a friend or family member on outings?
In the beginning it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel jealous or neglected. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little and the impact you have on their life.
What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters once I get matched?
Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist 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.
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!