a big impact on your child starts with you

As a parent, you recognize the potential of your child better than anyone. By giving them the opportunity to be a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters, you’re starting them down a path to an even brighter, more promising future.


 

Child Safety

Making the best possible match between Little and Big is critical to the growth and development of a child. Big Brothers Big Sisters 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 be in ongoing communication with you, your child, and your child’s Big. It’s the best way to build a safe and strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future success. Before we begin the matching process, we start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs. BBBSMC has rigorous standards and requires each volunteer to complete an extensive screening process that includes:

  • Completion of a formal written application
  • Background and reference checks
  • An in-person interview and professional assessment of the volunteer’s suitability to work with a child
  • An orientation and training process that outlines the individualized needs of your child and provides information and resources on how to encourage your child’s development
  • Assessment of the Volunteer’s home environment for Community Based matches
  • Professional matching recommendation

 

Families as Partners

When it comes to the future of our children and the well-being of our communities, we’re all in this together. So it should come as no surprise that we need the parents and guardians of Littles to be involved every step of the way, starting with the initial match. Not only will you provide information about your child’s strengths and needs, but you’ll also approve the selection of the Big Brother or Big Sister. Once the match is made, you remain closely involved in many ways, including:

  • Approving activities and outings for your child and their Big
  • Asking your child questions about those outings, and sharing what you learn with the agency staff
  • Reporting your child’s progress and milestones to the agency on a regular basis (Big Brothers Big Sisters will contact you, but we welcome your feedback any time)
  • Participating in training on child safety offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, and communicating with your child about the training he or she receives

Our Littles are:

52 % less likely to skip school

27 % less likely to begin using alcohol

46 % less likely to begin using illegal drugs

Enrollment Process

  1. Phone call with us First, we’ll have a phone call with you so we can learn about your child.
  2. Complete Orientation and Interview You and your child will attend an in-office orientation and then we’ll come to your home to complete a detailed interview with both of you. This is where you can share your preferences about the type of Big you think will be the best fit.
  3. Get Matched After the interview our professionally trained staff will assess your child and suggest a Big, taking your preferences into account.
  4. Meet your Big Once you agree to the match, your Match Support Specialist and the Big will come to your home where you will meet the Big, review rules, goals and plans for the first few outings.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

How old are the Littles in the program?
The Community Based program generally matches youth between 7 and 14 years old. Once matched, youth can remain in the program until 18 years old. Site Based offers some programs for high school students in addition to elementary schools students.
What is the minimum time commitment to be a Little?
Littles and their parent/guardian must be willing to commit to being matched with a Big at least one year and meet with their Big two to four times per month.
Is there a cost for the program?
No. This is a free program for families. In the Site Based program BBBS covers all expenses. In the Community Based program the Bigs are responsible for the cost of the outings.
When would my child meet their Big?
In the Community-Based Program it’s up to your family’s and the Big’s schedule, but most matches meet on the weekends. Bigs and Littles in the Site-Based Program generally meet after school or in the evenings.
Does BBBSMC accept LGBTQ youth?
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago values diversity, and no person will be denied equal opportunity under applicable laws to participate in our program because of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Preferences, fit, and similarity of interests are taken into consideration. As part of the matching process, we will disclose such information to the volunteer. If preferences are not aligned, BBBSMC will work to find a Big who we believe will be a good match for you/your child.
How do you match a Big with a Little?
We conduct in-depth interviews with the Bigs, Littles, and parents/guardians enrolling in our program so we can get to know all parties and can make the best match! We make matches based on common interests, personalities, preferences, and geography.
What kind of background checks do you do?
All volunteers and employees are subject to background checks that include obtaining references from people who know them well. Also we conduct a National Criminal Background Check (recurs twice a month), Federal Background Check, DCFS Child Abuse/Neglect, Public Domain Search, Motor Vehicle Check, and fingerprinting. In addition, in our Community Based program, anyone who lives in the Big’s home who is over the age of 18 must complete a background check.
What kinds of things do Bigs and Littles do together?
In the Community Based program Bigs and Littles do normal, everyday activities that ultimately build friendships and change lives! Going out for icecream, going to a baseball game, cooking a meal, visiting a museum – the Big and Little can decide what they want to do together! In the Site Based program fun and engaging activities are led by the Program Coordinator.
What outcome areas will the Big focus on with my child?
In both the Community Based and Site Based programs, Bigs and Littles set goals around three outcome areas: Educational Achievement (improving attitudes about school, improving grades, addressing truancy, discussing career aspirations, etc), Avoidance of Risky Behavior (peer pressure, drug and alcohol use, gangs, making healthy choices), and Socio-Emotional Competency (developing healthy peer relationships, self-confidence, etc).

Give your child a chance to realize their potential

By enrolling your child with Big Brothers Big Sisters, you give them a chance to see their unlimited potential and develop into even more responsible, successful, well-rounded individuals.

Enroll your Child today!