“Make a BIG difference by giving a LITTLE time”

 

FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions. If you can't find the answers here - contact us.

About Mentoring

What is mentoring all about?

First and foremost, mentoring is about being a friend to a child or youth. For more information, please review our online orientation.

How do mentors make a difference in the lives of children and youth?

Mentors make a difference in so many different ways! See our success stories for  testimonials from Little Brothers, Little Sisters and their parents.

Who are the children in your programs?

The children in our programs want encouragement and a special one-to-one friendship with a caring mentor who can enhance their sense of belonging, self-worth, resiliency and capacity to make healthy, well-informed decisions. They are aged 6 to 18.


About Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters
What kinds of activities do Mentors and Mentees do together?

We encourage Bigs and Littles to choose activities they both enjoy. Agency Staff do their best to match mentors with a Little Brother or Little Sister who has interests similar to theirs. We are sometimes given tickets to movies, sporting events, and cultural events which are offered to the matches.

Does Big Brothers Big Sisters only offer one-to-one mentoring or are there different types of opportunities available?

We offer a wide variety of mentoring opportunities across the Capital Regional District. See Mentoring Programs for all the programs our agency provides.

Does mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters cost money?

Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages no-cost and low-cost activities. It is not the responsibility of the mentor to pay for the child or youth.

What can I do if I need support with an issue in my match?

You will be assigned a caseworker, a trained professional who is there to support you in your match with your Little Brother or Little Sister. You will be required to have regular contact with your caseworker, and we also encourage you to contact them at any time to discuss how the match is going, what activities you are enjoying together, and any issues that you may be having.

Are mentors expected to help out with the child or youth's personal activities, such as bringing them to appointments, helping them with homework, etc?

No. Mentors may decide to help out with these types of activities every now and then, but this is not a requirement.

Are mentors responsible for the safety of their Little Brother or Little Sister during outings?

Yes. See our online orientation for more information.


About the Process for Becoming a Volunteer
Do you accept everyone who applies to be a volunteer?

No. Prospective mentors go through an application and assessment process, and the agency may determine that a mentoring role is not right for them. Prospective mentors may also decide that the time is not right to take on this role.

What steps do agencies take to ensure that only appropriate people are accepted as volunteers?

All prospective volunteers must provide a satisfactory criminal record check and three or four satisfactory references. For more information on requirements see our online orientation or call us.

Where do I go to get a Criminal Record Check done?

You will need to go to your local RCMP or Police Department with a letter from us that requests a free Criminal Record Check be completed about you. We will provide you with information on the location of the police station as well as their hours of operation.

How long does it take to become a mentor?

This varies a lot depending on the time it takes to complete your references and for your criminal record check to be completed.

How is a Little Sister or Little Brother picked for me? Do I have any say?

Your caseworker carefully reviews your application, noting your stated preferences, activities you enjoy, your background, personality, where you live, and other information gathered during your interview. All of this information is carefully considered in order to make a compatible, comfortable match for you and your mentee. Before introducing you to your Little, your caseworker will call you to tell you about the child to make sure you are comfortable and to answer any questions you may have. You will also have an opportunity to meet the child before the match is made. You do have the option to say 'no' - we want everyone to be excited about a new match.


Help with Making Your Decision
How do I know if mentoring is right for me?

Please review the information in this section and complete our Self-Assessment Checklist in our online orientation. You can also contact us to get answers to other questions you may have.

I am a teenager, can I volunteer?

We accept volunteers aged 15 and older.

I am a senior citizen, can I volunteer?

Most definitely! Most Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have no upper age limit to volunteering with us - just be prepared to get in touch with your inner child!

I don't know much about children and youth, is that okay?

Yes! It doesn't take much knowledge or experience to be a friend and positive role model. We also provide you with training and a caseworker who is always there to support you. 

Our training sessions include topics such as abuse prevention, how to build self-esteem, volunteer roles and responsibilities, and asset development. Although a great deal of information is covered, please recognize that this is just a starting point in your learning journey as a mentor.

Do I need to have access to a car?

This depends on the program you are volunteering for. Having a vehicle may be necessary in remote or rural areas; however, some matches rely entirely on public transit. This is something you should discuss with your caseworker prior to being matched.

I can't commit to one year or once a week. Can I still be a volunteer?

Two of our programs have different commitment requirements so please phone us at 250-475-1117, ext. 40 to explore your options. You may also want to start out by volunteering in another way, for example by helping the agency out with a fundraising event

What if I can't see my Little Sister or Little Brother for a week or two because I'm on vacation, going through exams, or away on a business trip?

Occasional absences are to be expected, whether for vacations, work responsibilities or illness. If you are going to miss an outing, discuss your plans with your caseworker, your Little Brother or Little Sister and his or her parent or guardian prior to your absence.

 

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