Our Bigs come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. You don't necessarily need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Volunteer now and make a difference in the life of your future Little Brother or Little Sister!
Before you fill out your application, we want you to know a few things about our programs.
Create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth.
Our one-to-one mentoring is built on...
- Careful Screening
- Thoughtful Matching
- Thorough Support of the Mentoring Match
We ask all volunteer mentors to commit to at least 12 months. Research shows that kids who have a strong relationship with their mentor have positive, lasting change after 12 months.
OUR PROGRAMS - 4 WAYS TO MAKE A BIG IMPACT!
Community-Based: Our community-based mentoring program matches responsible adults with under-resourced youth from the community, providing the youth with an additional role model. As a community-based match, you meet together about twice a month at a time convenient for both you and your Little, and spend quality time together engaging in meaningful one-to-one activities. The minimum commitment is one year. You can see a movie, bake cookies, shoot some hoops, or whatever else may be a fun way to spend time together. As a community-based Big, you must have your own transportation to pick-up and drop off your Little. As with all programs, Bigs receive on-going support from our staff to help you along the way.
School-Based: (This program has been postponed until Fall of 2021.) Throughout the academic year, Bigs in the school-based program meet with their Littles weekly at school for 30 - 45 minutes. School-based programs take place in schools across Lafayette Parish. As a school-based match, you and your Little can utilize resources on the school's campus for your activities - you can play on the playground, shoot hoops, visit the library, make arts & crafts, etc. You can even work on homework together or just walk and talk. You must have reliable transportation to get to your assigned school each week. The minimum commitment is one-year. Over the summer, school-based matched can keep in touch through letter writing and attending a BBBS activity.
E-Mentoring: Keeping Kids Socially Connected During Physical Distancing. E-Mentoring will replace our traditional school-based program for the 20-21 school year. This program matches students (Littles) in grades 1st - 12th with volunteer mentors (Bigs). Bigs and Littles will meet virtually, every other week, using the Zoom platform. The mentoring relationship can also be supplemented with communications using TheApp, a Matchforce based platform for digital communication between Bigs, Littles, parents/guardians, and BBBS Staff. This program allows volunteers to make a significant impact on a students life, while having the flexibility and freedom to connect in a meaningful way. Bigs & Littles will enjoy virtual activities like virtual internet games, taking virtual tours & field trips, reading together, virtual show & tell, and so much more!
Club-Based: Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Boys & Girls Clubs have partnered to provide one-to-one mentoring to youth on-site at one of the Clubs. The Club-based mentoring program is one way that mentors can help shape the future of youth in Acadiana. The Club-based program allows adult volunteer mentors (Bigs) and LIttles to build a supportive relationship in a space where young people spend much of their free time, share interests and hobbies, develop goals and have fun! The best part is the volunteer can choose what day and what time they can meet with their mentee and only need to spend about an hour a week with them!
The Club-based program takes place at the Granberry Unit (121 S. Washington St.) on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4:00 - 6:00 PM. Bigs will meet their Little for an hour during the time frame, once a week. The Boys and Girls Club offers fun activities that they can do together, such as shoot hoops, utilize the computer lab, or simply hang out and play a board game
Sports Buddies: Sports Buddies is a guys only program! In the Sports Buddies mentoring program, you and your Little participate in activities once or twice a month facilitated by BBBS - either playing sports or watching sports! Activities are typically on Saturdays or Sundays and are planned and facilitated by BBBS. In this program, all communication is facilitated by agency staff.
*** Bigs must be at least 18 years old and reside in either Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry, Evangeline, Iberia, Acadia or Vermilion Parishes.
Youth served through our mentoring programs are between the ages of 6 and 18 who could use a positive role model to empower them to achieve their full potential.
The kids we serve have many wonderful qualities. They also face multiple risk factors in their lives. Here are a few examples:
- 93% are living in low-to-moderate income household
- 70% are living with a single parent and 8% are living with neither parent
- 68% are kids of color
- 10% have an incarcerated parent
A great mentoring relationship can be a positive factor that helps balance some of the challenges kids face.
- Substance Abuse
- Problems in school
- Problems relating to peers
The positive benefits of a Little having a mentor include:
- Their Big serving as a positive adult role model
- Provides new experiences and perspectives
- Promotes positive youth development (sense of self, sense of the future, enthusiasm for learning, etc)
You do not need special skills, a ton of money, or have a lot of experience with kids, you just need to be:
- A caring, supportive person
- Willing to share time, ideas, and new experiences
- Someone who embraces differences and loves to learn
- Able to set and hold boundaries
- Put a child's safety and well-being first
Almost all of the kids who need and want a Big Brother or Big Sister have situations in their lives that reduce the likelihood that they will thrive in school and life.
Your role as a mentor is to let your Little know that they are important, that you care, and that despite their challenges you want to help them be their best selves and reach their full potential.
There are many ways you can help improve the life of a Little, but there are a few things you are not expected to be, such as:
- A judge
- A savior
- A parent
- A babysitter, chauffer, or an atm
- A parole officer
- A professional counselor, therapist or social worker
YOU WON'T BE ALONE
After you are matched with your Little Brother or Little Sister, a Match Support Specialist (BBBS Staff) will call you once a month for the 1st year of your match (and less frequently after that) to help with things like:
- ideas for building a friendship
- information and resources
- support and feedback
- Orientation - You're ALMOST done with this step!
- Complete your application on-line. Once you complete the application, you will receive a link to schedule your interview.
- Complete a one-to-one interview and the screening process.
- Criminal History Record Check & Fingerprinting
- References: current or past employers, co-workers, friend, neighbor, spouse or spousal equivalent (must be a family member if you do not have a spouse or spousal equivalent)
- Information from another BBBS agency or youth-serving organization where you may have volunteered previously
- Current certificate of insurance (community-based Bigs only)
- Home Visit & Assessment (community-based Bigs only)
- If approved as a Volunteer Big, you will complete your pre-match training either on-line or in person.
- Meet your Little!
BBBS reserves the right to accept or deny participants or to close a match at any time. Potential volunteers will be disqualified for the following:
- Failure to complete application and screening process
- Past history of sexual abuse of children
- Conviction of any crime involving children
- History of any sexually exploitive behavior
- Termination from a paid or volunteer position caused by misconduct with a child
- Demonstrating or expressing any strong racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or religious discriminatory views or opinions
OUR COMMITMENT TO CHILD SAFETY & YOUTH PROTECTION
Our #1 priority at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana is child safety and youth protection. We have a comprehensive system of youth protection to help ensure the safety of youth. This system includes policies and procedures that best protect youth, effective screening and selection of staff and volunteers, and professional monitoring of match relationships. All staff, parents, volunteers, and children, are required to be trained in recognizing and responding to suspected child abuse.
OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY & INCLUSION
All BBBS participants, including youth, families, volunteers, board, and staff serving as volunteer Bigs are not excluded on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, color, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship status, veteran status, or disability.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana is committed to ensuring its programs are inclusive to all youth and volunteers. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are an integral part of our values and mission. We recognize, honor, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of all of our participants, including youth, families, volunteers, and staff.
Thank you for considering this commitment of your time and talents. If you would like to continue on and complete your application to be a Big, please continue below.