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 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?
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.
How long does it take to become a Big?
The application process typically takes between one and two months. To be matched with a Little, it can take an additional several months.
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.
Are you currently accepting volunteers?
There are five steps between filling out an application and being matched to a Little.
Once your application is submitted you'll 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 structure in place to help the match relationship. You will be able to ask questions and decide whether or not the program is the right fit for you.
Since you’ll be working with a child in a 1-to-1 setting, you will be asked to undergo our screening process. This includes an in-depth 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’ll also have to provide a valid government-issued photo ID and references, and complete the necessary paperwork. A training session must also be completed prior to acceptance.
BBBS of NYC will contact you regarding your application status. If the program is a good fit, you'll be put in the matching pool to be matched with an appropriate Little.
Once a Little is found, 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.