or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › General › General Chat › Big Brothers Big Sisters- Any experience?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Big Brothers Big Sisters- Any experience?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have experience with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program? I've been meaning for a couple years to apply to do this. I thought it would be a good experience. When I was a young a neighbor had a "little brother." My dad and I did some things with them like play wiffle ball and go to the waterpark. Supposedly it's an extremely beneficial up front investment for vulnerable kids: much less likely to drop out of school, get criminal charges, etc. Anybody know what the process/time commitment/cost is like? Or quite simply, does anyone have experience with it? I'd be doing it through the New York chapter.
post #2 of 19
Do you get to pick the kid out of a book? Or do you get assigned one? Just wondering... I think i would be a good male role-model.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
It think it's assigned though an interest/hobby compatibility test and through a personality assessment in the form of an interview.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by StephenHero View Post
It think it's assigned though an interest/hobby compatibility test and through a personality assessment in the form of an interview.
hmm.I guess that's the toughest part. Compatibility... My only comment would be don't do it unless you can really commit. Buy a cat if you're lonely (even dogs can be a lot of work). I could imagine that a lot of these kids get screwed around already, and having big brothers that keep changing can't do them any good.
post #5 of 19
Was also thinking about joining. Only heard good things.

However with my travel commitments it wouldn't be fair to the kid. I'm gonna start once I switch to a more local job.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
That's kinda what I'm thinking. How long does the whole process last? A few times a month for a year or 6 months or something? Unless I found out the kid wanted to see Green Day in concert or something equally repulsive I don't think I'd just quit the program.
post #7 of 19
I volunteered with BB/BS for 2.5 years, all with the same Little Brother, until moving out-of-state last week. We became friends, I think it was a great experience for both of us and I highly, highly recommend it. There is a serious shortage of male volunteers and you can make a big difference with very little time or effort.

Initially, prospective Big Brothers fill out an application, provide character references, and submit to a background check and, later, an interview. Interview questions included my interests and preferences about a Little's interests and background (including preferred age range, ethnic background, etc.). Then I was shown files of 3-4 potential Little Brothers and asked to choose one. After making an almost arbitrary choice between what looked like very similar boys, I met the boy and his mother in the presence of my case manager. We immediately went out for ice cream and got to know each other better. After that, I typically picked up the local free paper when it came out on Wednesday, scanned the "Kids" section of things to do for the upcoming weekend and found several events that looked fun for both of us (soda pop tasting, museum exhibit, air show, movie, etc.). I called my Little Brother on Thursday to give him a choice of the 2 activities and then picked him up on the weekend for a 2-4 hour get-together. If I couldn't find activities, back-ups included swimming (in the Summer), roller blading, shooting hoops, laser tag, etc. I budgeted no more than $25 a week and it usually cost much less. Time commitment is 2-4 hours a week, plustime to complete occasional 5-6 question questionnaires from a case manager (IIRC once a month for the first year, then every six months), usually done by email.

My match was very easy for me, since his mother really had her act together. She always kept to her time commitments, always had him fed, etc. Several times, I mentioned that I wasn't sure I was making much of an impact, but she pointed to his older brother, whose Big Brother had moved without maintaining contact, and he was having behavioral problems and problems in school.

The initial commitment is for one year, but BB/BS always hopes the match will last long-term, until the Little turns 18. Again I highly recommend it, as I think I got more out of the experience than my Little Brother did. I have some great memories, such as the time we did science experiments in my back yard and set the grass on fire (I had to convince his mom that the fire extinguisher training was actually planned) or the time he broke through the ice at a local pond and I had to fish him out and hustle him to my home for a hot shower and some dry clothes. I got to borrow him for a couple hours, then turn him back to his mom for the hard parenting work.

Although it may take me awhile to respond since I'm very busy at a new job, PM me if you want to ask any questions off-line.
post #8 of 19
Thinman, you have a big heart. Anybody who volunteers for programs like this, and especially anybody who sticks with it, is a good person inside.
post #9 of 19
^^ Was this kid's mother fine?
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teacher View Post
Thinman, you have a big heart. Anybody who volunteers for programs like this, and especially anybody who sticks with it, is a good person inside.

Thanks Teach. As I said, mom really had her act together and I enjoyed the experience, so it was easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopho View Post
^^ Was this kid's mother fine?

The mom is a nice person and, I would guess, once upon a time she was a looker, but she isn't my type. One of my major disappointment with the program is that I didn't meet any "fine" women at the periodic group events held by BB/BS.
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by thinman View Post
I volunteered with BB/BS for 2.5 years, all with the same Little Brother, until moving out-of-state last week. We became friends, I think it was a great experience for both of us and I highly, highly recommend it. There is a serious shortage of male volunteers and you can make a big difference with very little time or effort.

Initially, prospective Big Brothers fill out an application, provide character references, and submit to a background check and, later, an interview. Interview questions included my interests and preferences about a Little's interests and background (including preferred age range, ethnic background, etc.). Then I was shown files of 3-4 potential Little Brothers and asked to choose one. After making an almost arbitrary choice between what looked like very similar boys, I met the boy and his mother in the presence of my case manager. We immediately went out for ice cream and got to know each other better. After that, I typically picked up the local free paper when it came out on Wednesday, scanned the "Kids" section of things to do for the upcoming weekend and found several events that looked fun for both of us (soda pop tasting, museum exhibit, air show, movie, etc.). I called my Little Brother on Thursday to give him a choice of the 2 activities and then picked him up on the weekend for a 2-4 hour get-together. If I couldn't find activities, back-ups included swimming (in the Summer), roller blading, shooting hoops, laser tag, etc. I budgeted no more than $25 a week and it usually cost much less. Time commitment is 2-4 hours a week, plustime to complete occasional 5-6 question questionnaires from a case manager (IIRC once a month for the first year, then every six months), usually done by email.

My match was very easy for me, since his mother really had her act together. She always kept to her time commitments, always had him fed, etc. Several times, I mentioned that I wasn't sure I was making much of an impact, but she pointed to his older brother, whose Big Brother had moved without maintaining contact, and he was having behavioral problems and problems in school.

The initial commitment is for one year, but BB/BS always hopes the match will last long-term, until the Little turns 18. Again I highly recommend it, as I think I got more out of the experience than my Little Brother did. I have some great memories, such as the time we did science experiments in my back yard and set the grass on fire (I had to convince his mom that the fire extinguisher training was actually planned) or the time he broke through the ice at a local pond and I had to fish him out and hustle him to my home for a hot shower and some dry clothes. I got to borrow him for a couple hours, then turn him back to his mom for the hard parenting work.

Although it may take me awhile to respond since I'm very busy at a new job, PM me if you want to ask any questions off-line.

why are you so selfless? you are my hero.
post #12 of 19
Yeah, how is BB/BS going to help you get chicks
post #13 of 19
Programs like this are a great way to truly impact a child's life in a positive manner. I'm not currently a mentor, but I work full time for a start-up mentoring program that started out of Big Brothers Big Sisters of SE PA and it's been a true learning experience. Let me agree with the above that this is a great thing that you can do for a child, and the positive effects are legion for yourself and the child. But only do this if you truly have the time and conviction to stick with it for at least a year. Many of these children are so used to having people constantly in and out of their lives that it can actually HURT the child more to have a mentor jump in and quit before the one year mark than if they wouldn't have had one at all. Again, I'm not affiliated with BBBS, but I work 40-60 hours per week on something similar (big difference is we emphasize integration of faith and we focus on children at risk of incarceration due to having incarcerated parents). I think that if you have the time to commit to being a mentor, it's an experience you shouldn't pass up. Don't worry about the money, as a mentor isn't meant to be an ATM.
post #14 of 19
My friend had the time to do it, and he said it was great experience, I would have done it had I have the time (and was still in NYC).
post #15 of 19
My sister was involved in the program and it turned out to be a big mess. What some people don't realize is that some of these kids really can't be helped by simply hanging out with them once a week. The program set her up with a child who was a terrible fit for here, and when she began having problems with the child they would do nothing to help her. They offered no support whatsoever.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Chat
Styleforum › Forums › General › General Chat › Big Brothers Big Sisters- Any experience?