We believe in the value and values of mentoring.”

FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions. If you can't find the answers here - contact us.

About Mentoring

What is mentoring all about?

First and foremost, mentoring is about being a friend to a child or youth. For more information you can go through our online orientation.

How do mentors make a difference in the lives of children and youth?

Mentors make a difference in so many different ways! See our success stories for just a couple testimonials from Little Brothers, Little Sisters and their parents.


About Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters
What kinds of activities do Mentors and Mentees do together?

We encourage Bigs and Littles to choose activities they both enjoy. Caseworkers do their best to match mentors with a Little Brother or Little Sister who has interests similar to theirs. Many agencies organize group activities for matches, and are sometimes given tickets to movies, sporting events, and cultural events which they offer to their matches.

Does Big Brothers Big Sisters only offer one-to-one mentoring or are there different types of opportunities available?

Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies offer a wide variety of mentoring opportunities, and the programs offered vary from agency to agency. See Mentoring Programs for all the programs our agency provides.

Does mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters cost a lot of money?

It doesn't have to. Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages no-cost and low-cost activities, and in most agencies it is not the responsibility of the mentor to pay for the child or youth. We will also offer free or low-cost tickets or outings when possible to support you and your match having a fun time!

What can I do if I need support with an issue in my match?

You will be assigned a caseworker, a trained professional who is there to support you in your match with your Little Brother or Little Sister. You will be required to have regular contact with your caseworker, and we also encourage you to contact your Caseworker at any time to discuss how the match is going, what activities you are enjoying together, and any issues that you may be having.

Are mentors expected to help out with the child or youth's personal activities, such as bringing them to appointments, helping them with homework, etc?

No. Mentors may decide to help out with these types of activities every now and then, but this is not a requirement. An exception would be Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programs that focus on assisting the Little Sister or Little Brother with their homework and studies. A mentor is a friend and role model, not a babysitter.

Are mentors responsible for the safety of their Little Brother or Little Sister during outings?

Yes. See our online orientation for more information.


About the Process for Becoming a Volunteer
How do I get started toward becoming a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer?

Check out the page Apply to be a mentor for an overview of the steps involved, or contact out Volunteer Intake Caseworker, Meredith, and she will get you started on the process!

Do you accept everyone who applies to be a volunteer?

No. As prospective mentors go through the application and assessment process, the agency may determine that a mentoring role is not right for them. Prospective mentors themselves may also decide the time is not right to take on this role.

What steps do agencies take to ensure that inappropriate people are not accepted as volunteers?

Several steps are taken. For example, all prospective volunteers must provide a satisfactory criminal record check and three or four satisfactory references. For more information on requirements see our online orientation or call us.

Where do I go to get a Criminal Record Check done?

During the volunteer intake process, we will take a copy of your driver's licence (or other appropriate photo I.D.) and have you fill out a Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Check application. We send the form off for you, and all you have to do is pick it up from your local police station when it is ready. The fee is $15, and it will be reimbursed once the original police check is returned to us. We will give you the full details at the time this occurs in the intake process.

How long does it take to become a mentor?

This varies across agencies, and also depends on the time it takes for the application process to be completed, the criminal record check to come back, as well as the children on our waiting list. Contact us to learn more.

How is a Little Sister or Little Brother picked for me? Do I have any say?

When matching you with a Little Sister or Little Brother, your caseworker carefully reviews your application, noting your stated preferences, activities you enjoy, your background, personality, where you live, and other information gathered during your interview. All of this information is carefully considered in order to make a compatible, comfortable match for you and your Little Brother or Little Sister. 

Upon successful completion of the screening process and acceptance as a volunteer, you are presented with 2-4 Littles that may be a good match based on the above information. You get to choose which child would make the best match for you. Matches are NOT made on a first come first service basis. You do have the option to say 'no' - we want everyone to be excited about a new match.


Help with Making Your Decision
How do I know if mentoring is right for me?

In addition to going over the information in this section, you may wish to complete our Self-Assessment Checklist in our online orientation or contact us to get answers to other questions you may have.

I am a teenager, can I volunteer?

Yes! Although for Traditional and Big for a Day mentoring programs you must be 18 or older, you may volunteer with ISM and After School programs at 16 years of age. We also have other ways you can make a difference as a volunteer! Check these out to start, and contact us with any questions you have.

I am a senior citizen, can I volunteer?

Most definitely! Most Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have no upper age limit to volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters - just be prepared to get in touch with your inner child!

I don't know much about children and youth, is that okay?

Yes! It doesn't take much knowledge or experience to be a friend and positive role model, and the caseworker is always there to support you.

Do I need to have access to a car?

You are required to have access to a vehicle to volunteer for our Traditional (one-to-one) Mentoring Program as well as Go Girls and Game On group programming. However, you do not need access to a vehicle for In School Mentoring or After School programs or for most of our other volunteer opportunities. 

I can't commit to one year or once a week. Can I still be a volunteer?

Yes!  The commitment level varies depending on which program you are volunteering with:

          • Traditional: 2-4 hours/week, minimum one year commitment
          • In School Mentoring (ISM): 1-1.5 hours/week September to June (school year)
          • Go Girls!/Game On! group mentoring: 1-1.5 hours/week, seven week commitment, possibility to run more sessions after completion
          • After School Program: 1-2 hours/week September to June (school year)
          • Big for a Day: 2-4 hours per outing, one day a month, minimum commitment is 6 outings/year
          • Short term: special events, fundraising, office help all varying time commitments with no long-term requirement. See here for more details.
What if I can't see my Little Sister or Little Brother for a week or two because I'm on vacation, going through exams, or away on a business trip?

Occasional absences are to be expected, whether for vacations, work responsibilities or illness. If you are going to miss an outing, discuss your plans with your caseworker, your Little Brother or Little Sister and his or her parent or guardian prior to your absence.

Our Next Event
2017 Sawhorse Race 
Sawhorse Logo 2016
Sat. Aug 5th
Port Colborne 
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 Save the Date 

Sisterhood of Style 
Nov., 9. 2017

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Looking forward to  2018 

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