As the nation's leading mentoring organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The "Big" and "Little" matches participate in activities either at school or throughout the community. Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven to increase children's odds of succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. We are a private, donor-driven and volunteer-supported nonprofit organization that has been impacting South Central Kentucky for the past 38 years, and in 2011 is striving to serve over 400 matched children ages 6 to 17 in Warren, Allen and Barren counties.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central KY FAQ
Q: What mentoring programs do you have available?
This program is great if you have just a short time available to spare each week, but you still want to mentor a child. It's available to college students and community members throughout the school year. Volunteers are expected to spend about one hour per week with the "Little" at their school for one full school year. This time may be spent doing homework, participating in fun activities or just sitting and talking with the Little during their lunch period. Contact is limited to just school grounds and when school is in session.
This traditional program is available to adult volunteers in the community 18 years of age or older. Volunteers spend two to four hours per week with their Little for at least one year (or 3 semesters if you are a WKU student who does not remain in town during summer break). Volunteers are permitted to see their child off school grounds at any time during the year. The "Littles" in this program are matched between the ages of six and twelve years old. Matches go out into the community to share in activities of mutual interest.
Couples can also get involved in Community-based Mentoring! It can be a shared experience where the couple is paired with a Little Brother. Time can be spent one-on-one with the child, with the majority of the outings being spent as a group.
Each match is based on the needs of the child and the interests of both the child and volunteer. What makes our approach to mentoring successful is that 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 Specialist there to help. You'll receive ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference, just by showing up!
Q: What sorts of things would a Big Brother or Big Sister do with their Little?
The Big and Little can participate in any activities of mutual interest, such as playing a sport or game together; going on a hike; scrapbooking; cooking or baking; gardening; or just hanging out and talking. It's not about spending money on a child, but spending time with a child. It's about doing the kinds of activities you already like to do, but inviting a child to join in on the fun!
Q: Who are the children Big Brothers Big Sisters serves?
We serve children between the ages of 6 and 12. Our Littles come from many types of home environments and family structures, different social-economic levels, ethnic backgrounds, and neighborhoods and schools. Their backgrounds and personalities are unique, but they all share and benefit from the friendship formed with a caring adult.
Q: What changes can be seen in children after they spend time with mentors?
National research has shown that positive relationships between youth and their Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors have a direct and measurable impact on children's lives. By participating in our youth mentoring programs, Little Brothers and Little Sisters are:
* More confident in their schoolwork performance
* Able to get along better with their families and peers
* 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
* 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
* 52% less likely to skip school.
Q: How does one go about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister or signing up their child to be a "Little" in the Community-based Mentoring Program?
To become a volunteer, you need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver's license and transportation, complete an application, have a background check, and provide three references. These steps are followed by a brief orientation with a BBBS Match Specialist on program information, training and Q&A session, an interview, and concluded with a home visit. Provided the volunteer is approved, the Match Specialist will seek to determine a good fit for a Little waiting to be matched. After obtaining permission from the volunteer and the Little's parent/guardian, a child will be assigned and matched with the Big. After introductions at the child's home, the match officially begins!
To become a Little, a child would need to be 6 to 12 years old and referred by a parent/guardian. The child must also live in one of the counties we serve, Warren, Allen or Barren County. The parent/guardian must complete an application and orientation, interview with Match Specialist, and interview with the child at a home assessment. Provided the child is approved, the child will be placed on a waiting-list and will be invited to activities throughout the time waiting, as the Match Specialist seeks to determine a well-suited Big Brother or Big Sister for the child. After obtaining permission from the Little's parent/guardian and the volunteer, a child will be matched with their respective Big. After introductions at the child's home, the match officially begins!