How to Become a Big
Thank you for your interest in becoming a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC. As the nation’s founding and NYC’s largest mentoring organization, our program is simple: by meeting just twice a month on a Saturday or Sunday in the community, our volunteers are able to make a positive, often life-long impact on a child. We match volunteers over the age of 21 with children between the ages of 7-17 in all five boroughs of New York City for a minimum of a one-year match commitment. We are especially in need of male volunteers and volunteers from or willing to travel to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
To volunteer now, fill out our application by clicking the button below. For questions, check out our FAQ's below, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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What is a youth mentor or Big?
A mentor helps their mentee through life’s experiences and challenges so that they can look forward to a successful future. By listening, giving advice and providing a constructive example, our Bigs support their Little’s development by consistently being there for them.
What are some activities that matches do in New York City?
Matches are encouraged to explore the five boroughs, providing a unique experience for both the Little and Big. Based on mutual interests, matches regularly enjoy recreational, educational and goal-oriented activities and agency-sponsored events. Outings may include activities such as playing sports and exploring parks, museums and various NYC attractions.
How is being a Big different from other volunteer opportunities?
Being a Big provides volunteers the opportunity to make a significant impact on New York City youth. Littles in our program show an increase in self-esteem, higher high school graduation rates and a decrease in risk behaviors. Littles, with the help of their Bigs, set goals in four different categories, increasing the effectiveness of our mentoring model and helping track their success.
Our 1-to-1 mentoring model requires a minimum commitment of at least one year as a match, with many relationships lasting a lifetime.
How does BBBS of NYC match volunteers with youth?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC creates the match by taking into account the interests, strengths, experiences, location and preferences of Bigs to the unique needs of our Littles. Prior to matching, the Big, Little and parent and/or guardian all pre-approve their match.
How does BBBS of NYC support its volunteers working with youth?
We provide all Bigs with a comprehensive youth development training session, as well as assign them to a dedicated Program Manager. These BBBS of NYC staff members provide support for both the family and volunteer through regular check-ins and access to citywide resources. Additionally, we offer a variety of optional online trainings, as well as opportunities to connect with other Bigs in the program.
What areas of New York City does BBBS serve?
We provide services for youth residing in all five boroughs of New York City, with our highest needs coming from the Bronx and Brooklyn.
Are there any other volunteer opportunities with BBBS of NYC besides being a Big?
Yes. We offer former, current and potential volunteers the option to join one of our Affinity groups. Meeting once a month, these groups help BBBS of NYC expand volunteer recruitment and fundraising efforts to targeted communities throughout New York City. To learn more, visit our Affinity group page.
Do you offer an online mentoring program?
Our program focuses on an in-person, 1-to-1 mentoring relationship. Based on our experience, we believe this model to be the most impactful.
What does the volunteer application process look like?
The application process typically takes between one to two months. There is usually an additional wait period after acceptance that varies according to the needs of our youth.
There are six steps once you have filled out an application to become matched with a Little.
Once your application is submitted, you will be invited to attend a Volunteer Information Session.
At our Volunteer Information Session, you'll learn more about our organization, the volunteer role and the support structures in place to help the match relationship. You will be able to ask questions and decide whether the program is a right fit for you.
Since you will be working with a child in a 1-to-1 capacity, you will be asked to undergo our screening process. This includes an in-depth character interview that will last about 1-2 hours. During this time, we will learn more about your personal life, background and match preferences. For this interview you will need to provide a valid government-issued photo ID and references.
Following the interview, we will reach out to your references and run a criminal background check. A training session must also be completed prior to acceptance.
We will contact you regarding your application status. If the program is a right fit, you will be placed in the pool of waiting Bigs to be matched with an appropriate Little.
Once a Little has been identified for you, a Program Manager will reach out to provide basic information and to schedule an initial meeting called a Pre-Match Meeting. Here you'll meet your Little, their parent/guardian, and your Program Manager.
If you have any questions or concerns anytime during your match, your Program Manager is there to provide guidance and supervision for the match.
Do I have to live in New York City to become a volunteer with BBBS of NYC?
Our volunteers must live in the Tri-State area and have the willingness and flexibility to travel to one of the five boroughs to meet up with their Little. If you’re not located within New York City, you might also be interested in checking out BBBS of Long Island, BBBS of Westchester, BBBS of Northern New Jersey, and BBBS of Essex, Hudson & Union Counties.