If you’d like to receive more information about enrolling your child click here.
If you’d like to complete an application to enroll your child into the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, click here.
The Children We Serve
The children we serve may include children without parents living or involved in their lives, children from single parent families, children who have no or few extended family members in their lives and/or children who face negative peer pressure and lack role models. These children usually have limited access to adults with whom they can speak about their challenges, fears and dreams.
How Mentoring Works
When a parent enrolls a child in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, the child and the parent participate in the BBBSP matching process – a process which helps us create lasting relationships between children and mentors.
Before we make a match, we do our homework. After someone expresses an interest in becoming a Big, they go through a background check and careful interview process. Parents know what’s best for their child. So we ask parents to give information about their child’s strength’s and needs
The BBBSP staff meet with parents, children and mentors to find out more about each person. Based upon the background, life experience, schedules, personalities and interests of both the mentors and children, BBBSP staff propose what they believe is the best match option. Only when the mentor, parent AND child agree do we formally schedule a match meeting where the mentor and the child and parent meet each other for the first time. At the match meeting, someone from our staff also attends to make the introductions, revisit the program’s guidelines and answer questions.
The parent has the final say regarding the approval of a Big Brother or Big Sister mentor. Parents are also encouraged:
- Approve activities and outings for the child and his/her mentor
- Ask questions about outings and share what they learn with BBBSP staff
- Report a child’s progress and milestones to BBBSP
- Participate in training on child safety offered by BBBSP staff, and communicate with his/her child about what was learned.
Once the match is made, one of our staff will check in frequently with the parent, the child and the mentor, particularly at the earliest stages of the match, to see how the friendship is developing and to offer ideas and to provide one-to-one coaching/training as needed. The check in is done in person, on email and over the phone. This also provides a structured way to identify challenges and strengthen the communication between the mentor, the child, the family, and agency staff. Keeping in touch with agency staff throughout the match is one of the requirements of the program.
Children meet with their mentors at least 2-4 times a month and we ask the children and mentors to commit to the match for at least 1 year. The mentor and child go on a variety of outings, which may include a walk in the park, watching a movie, having lunch, playing soccer or simply having a conversation. Over time, the mentor and child establish a relationship so that the child knows there is someone in addition to a parent who can provide support and positive guidance. Relationships between the mentor and child are supported continually by professionally trained Big Brothers Big Sisters of Poland staff.