Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama is the largest one-to-one mentoring organization in the region and changes the lives of children in the area every day. The organization enlists the help of volunteers (Bigs) to help children (Littles) realize their full potential and plan their futures with confidence. These volunteers nurture the children they’re matched up with and strengthen their communities through two programs.
This is the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters relationship and matches children at ages 6-15 and supports them until they finish school. This program is all about one-on-one time spent between a Big and their Little, doing things they enjoy within the community. The commitment to volunteer is a minimum of one year, and the goal is for the Big and Little match to spend an average of 4-6 hours a month together. Bigs support the connection with their Little through contacts and planned activities.
The school program is based in nearly 50 schools in Baldwin, Escambia, Mobile, and Monroe counties. They match children between the ages of 6-15 and support the match until they finish school. This program consists of one-to-one mentoring that takes place on school grounds and during school hours. Students are encouraged to talk with their mentors about their classes, work on homework, or read together. Their programs are all about friendship, guidance, and building a relationship. Bigs meet with their Littles for one hour per week for the entire school year, and arrange their meetings around the child’s needs and your schedule.
The children enrolled usually fall between the ages of 6 and 15, and their match is supported through age 18. National research has shown that positive relationships between a Little and their Big has a direct and measurable impact on the kids’ lives when they’re matched for at least a year.
2017-2018 Youth Outcomes
98% of Littles are more confident that they will finish school
94% of Littles had improved relationships with peers and adults
97% of Littles avoided risk behaviors
95% of Littles improved academically
Interested in Becoming a Big?
Becoming a mentor only requires that you be yourself! A willingness to be there is enough to make a difference. Simply helping out with a little homework or playing a game of catch with your Little means so much. Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to serving the children who will benefit the most from the one-to-one time given by their Big. Your willingness to spend time with them means everything.
To be a Big, you have to commit to at least a year. As far as time commitment, you’ll need to dedicate one hour a week in the school-based program, or 4-6 hours a month in the community-based program, to spend with your Little. You have to be at least 19 years old and commit fully to a one-on-one relationship with your Little. You’re required to have your own vehicle for transportation, car insurance, and a valid driver’s license to be a part of the community-based program.
Every volunteer will also need to complete all components of the enrollment process, which includes background checks, references, an in-person interview, and pre-match training. You’ll also need to be willing to communicate monthly with professional support staff.
To enroll in the program as a volunteer, you’ll need to meet with staff to complete all the required forms. Going through references and background checks can take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but in the meantime you’ll go through online training. After your background check is complete, you’ll have an in-person interview and orientation. Finally, a Little will be matched with you, and you’ll get to meet them!
It’s important to note that the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization reserves the right to accept or deny participants, and to close a match at any time, if necessary.
It may seem like you’re volunteering for your Little, but the impact of serving as a Big Brother or Big Sister may surprise you. Bigs often find that they have happier attitudes, aren’t as stressed, gain a clear sense of purpose, get to network with peers, have a lot of fun, and feel that their lives are changed forever.
Your Little will come out of the program more confident, more likely to avoid drugs and alcohol, holding higher goals, and demonstrating the life perspective to achieve those goals. They’ll do better in school, get along better with family and friends, and feel like they have clearer direction in life. Not to mention the many positive impacts your relationship with your Little will have on the community—you’ll be creating a quantifiable social impact, shedding light on community needs and improving the likelihood that more of your community’s kids will graduate high school.
Ready to become an integral and positive force in the city of Atmore? Contact us today!