Match your child/youth to a caring adult mentor & friend. They meet 2—4 times a month on a schedule that works best for you.
BECOMING A LITTLE
Littles are children/youth living in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito County that will benefit from a one-to-one relationship with a positive adult friend/role model. All Littles need and can benefit from the friendship of an adult with whom to have fun and help them through difficult childhood experiences.
A desire by both guardian and child/youth to be a part of the program
Child age 7-14 years old (or about to turn 7 years old)
Living in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito County
ABOUT THE MENTORS
Like our Littles, our volunteers are from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. They are at least 18 years of age (or 16 if volunteering for the After School program) and may be single or married, perhaps even with a family of their own. Bigs make a one-year commitment to spend a few hours a week with their Littles doing fun activities at a time that works for both of them. All Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers are interviewed, screened, and trained by our professional agency staff.
• Fill out an online application
• Request a copy of the English Application or the Spanish Application, to print and mail to us.
Please call the Agency at 831-464-8691 or email us to receive an application by mail.
Once we receive your application, casework staff will call and/or email you to explain the next step.
Parents and guardians are an integral part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters match at every step of the process. Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of the Big. Once the match is made, parent/guardians remain closely involved in several key ways, including:
Approving match activities and supporting your child’s involvement
Asking your child questions about the match meetings, and reporting any concerns to the agency staff
Regularly reporting back to the agency about your child’s progress and milestones in the match relationship – Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you regularly, but we welcome your feedback at any time
Participating in training on child safety offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, and communicating with your child about the training they receive.
CHILD PROTECTION & SAFETY
The safety of your child is your highest priority. It is no different at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Making the best possible match between Little and Big is critical to the growth and development of a child. But before we begin the matching process, we start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters Standards of Excellence requires each volunteer to complete a multi-layered screening process that includes:
Completion of a formal written application
Background and reference checks
An 1-1 interview
An orientation and training process that outlines the individual needs of your child and provides information and resources on how to encourage your child’s development
Big Brothers Big Sisters also provides child safety tips to you and your child and we welcome your questions and feedback. Throughout the life of the match, our professional staff will maintain ongoing communication with you, your child, and your child’s Big. It’s the best way to build a strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future success.
How are Littles introduced to the agency?
Children and their families are referred to the agency by schools, other social service agencies, clergy, relatives, or the families may call on their own.
How do youth become “Littles”?
The child and the parent/guardian are asked to complete an application and are personally interviewed by a professional staff member to help best determine the exact need in each situation. All youth are voluntarily a part of the program.
What are matches based on?
A match is based on such factors as geographical location, personality, needs, and interests as well as the youth, volunteer’s and parent/guardian’s preferences.
When is a match made?
A match is made only after the volunteer and parent/guardian have met and mutually approve of making the match. The “pre-match” meeting is facilitated by a case manager and provides both parties with the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about each other. If, after sufficient consideration, the volunteer and parent/guardian both want to proceed with the match, we will set up a match meeting, where the youth meets the volunteer. In this “match meeting”, the youth and volunteer get to know one another before activating the match. Once everyone has met each other and indicates they are ready to proceed, the match is activated and outings can start being planned.
What happens after I’ve been matched?
Throughout the match, the volunteer, youth and parent/guardian are never left without the assistance of the professional staff of the agency. Each match is assigned to a case manager for ongoing supervision. Volunteers, youth and parent/guardians have monthly contact with the case manager to discuss their feelings about the match and help is available should any problems occur.
What kind of activities can matches do?
Activities could include: riding bikes, surfing, cooking, gardening, hiking, going to the movies, going out to eat, learning a new skill, or just hanging out.
How many children has Big Brothers Big Sisters of Santa Cruz County served?
More than 8,000 children have been served by our local Big Brothers Big Sisters since it began in 1982.
How is Big Brothers Big Sisters funded?
Big Brothers Big Sisters relies on our community to support our mentoring services. The majority of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ funding comes from fundraising events and private donors including individuals, foundations, businesses, service clubs, and faith-based organizations. Federal and local government also funds Big Brothers Big Sisters.