How to become a mentor
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 their own schedules in the community, our volunteers are able to make a positive, often life-long impact on a child in need. We match volunteers over the age of 21 with children between 7-17 in all 5 boroughs of New York City. We are especially in need of volunteers from or willing to travel to the outer boroughs.
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?
➧ How long does it take to become a mentor?
➧ What are some activities that matches do in NYC?
➧ How is being a youth mentor different from other volunteer opportunities?
➧ How does BBBS of NYC match volunteers with youth?
➧ What's it's like being a mentor? Listen to what our current mentors have to say.
➧ How does BBBS of NYC support volunteers working with youth?
➧ What areas of New York City does BBBS serve?
➧ What is the role of a volunteer youth mentor?
➧ What are the benefits of mentoring for NYC youth?
➧ Are there any other volunteer opportunities with BBBS of NYC besides being a mentor?
➧ Do you offer an online mentoring program?
➧ What makes a good mentor?
➧ Are you currently accepting volunteers?
➧ How long is the program and when do matches meet?
➧ What happens when I fill out the application?
What is a youth mentor or Big?
A mentor helps their mentee through life’s challenges so they can look forward to a better future. By listening, giving advice and providing a constructive example, our Bigs support their Little’s development by simply being there.
How long does it take to become a mentor?
The process of becoming a Big can take between 1-2 months, with an average time of 45 days.
What are some activities that matches do in NYC?
Matches are encouraged to explore the 5 boroughs, providing a unique experience for both the Little and Big (mentor). Based on mutual interest, matches regularly enjoy playing sports, attending professional sporting events, parks, museums, movies and various NYC attractions. We also provide our Bigs a list of over 300 NYC activities taking place around the city and a weekly digest of free and low-cost local events.
How is being a youth mentor different from other volunteer opportunities?
Being a mentor provides volunteers the opportunity to make a significant impact on youth from NYC’s most underserved communities. Our 1-to-1 mentoring model requires a minimum commitment of 1 year, with many relationships lasting a lifetime.
How does BBBS of NYC match volunteers with youth?
Big Brother Big Sisters of NYC tailors the match by taking into account the interests, strengths, experiences, location and preferences of volunteers to the unique needs of our Littles. Prior to matching, the volunteer, child and parent all pre-approve their match. Because of this our success rate shows through in our average match length of 2 years.
What's its like being a mentor? Listen to what our current mentors have to say.
Ever wonder what it's like being a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, listen to various testimonials from current volunteer youth mentors in our program. To listen to more testimonials click here to visit our soundcloud page.
How does BBBS of NYC support volunteers working with youth?
We provide all volunteer mentors a comprehensive youth development training session, as well as assign them to a dedicated social worker. 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 and in-person trainings, as well as opportunities to connect with other mentors in the program.
What areas of New York City does BBBS serve?
We provide services for at-risk youth residing in all 5 boroughs of NYC, with our highest needs coming from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens.
What is the role of a volunteer youth mentor?
Through our volunteer training, mentors learn how to support Littles by serving as an active listener and role model. Being a mentor is different from being a tutor or life coach. Mentoring is about exposing underprivileged youth to new experiences and life’s possibilities.
What are the benefits of mentoring for NYC youth?
Mentoring prepares children for life’s adversity. Littles in our program show an increase in self-esteem, higher high school graduation rates and a decrease in risk behaviors. Youth, with the help of their mentors, set goals in 4 different categories, increasing the effectiveness of our mentoring model and helping track their success. In 2013, Philliber Research Associates conducted a two-year study following youth in our programs and a control group of their non-mentored peers. Its findings showed a 59% higher likelihood of risk behavior for non-mentored youth compared to the Littles in our programs.
Are there any other volunteer opportunities with BBBS of NYC besides being a mentor?
Yes. We offer former, current and potential volunteers the option 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 NYC. To learn more visit our Affinity group page.
Do you offer an online mentoring program?
Our program is an in-person, 1-to-1 mentoring relationship. Based on our experience, we believe this model to be the most impactful for at-risk youth in NYC. We do offer online support services to our mentors including communication with their dedicated social worker and optional webinar training.
What makes a good mentor?
Someone who can be a consistent presence in a child’s life will have the greatest impact. A good mentor helps their mentee through life’s challenges by listening, giving advice and providing a constructive example.
Are you currently accepting volunteers?
Yes! There are more than 400,000 NYC youth who could benefit from having a mentor. We accept volunteers on a rolling basis, with our greatest needs being mentors willing to travel to the outer boroughs and those who speak Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and Korean. Of youth seeking a mentor, the majority are boys, resulting in a high demand for male volunteers. Because of this, we encourage our volunteers to refer a male friend to our program as they go through the process.
How long is the program and when do matches meet?
Our volunteer mentors meet with their Littles twice a month for four hours each time, typically on the weekends, over the period of at least one year. Our average match length is two years in our program.
What happens when I fill out the application
There are five steps between filling out an application and being matched to a Little.
Our staff will review your application and contact you to invite you to a volunteer orientation.
At our volunteer orientation you’ll learn more about our organization, your role as a volunteer and the support structure in place to help you and your Little. You will be able to ask questions, and decide whether or not you want to become a Big.
Since you’ll be working with children in a one-to-one setting, you will be asked to undergo our screening process. This includes an interview that will last about 1 1/2 hours. During this time we will learn more about your background and match preferences. The Littles and their families go through the same process. For this interview you’ll also have to provide an updated resume and a valid government issued photo ID. You’ll also be asked to fill out paperwork to begin your background check and provide us with three references.
Before going out with your Little, you’ll be asked to attend a mandatory 2-hour training session. You’ll learn about the typical match life cycle, how to handle scenarios that may arise during your match, and learn valuable tips from other Bigs’ experience that can help make your match even better.
Additional training will also be offered after your match has started and you’ll be connected to our online training system where you’ll have access to an array of training topics. A Case Manager will keep you informed of all scheduled trainings.
It’s time to meet your match. Your initial meeting is called a Match Meeting. Here you’ll meet your Little, his or her Parent/Guardian, and your Program Manager. This is when you’ll discuss the guidelines for the match and plan your first outing together.
If you have any concerns anytime during your match, your Program Manager will be happy to help. You will also check-in with your Program Manager at least once a month to let him or her know how your match is going.