“Make a BIG difference by giving a LITTLE time”



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 you can go through 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.

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. Caseworkers do their best to match mentors with a Little Brother or Little Sister who has interests similar to theirs. Many agencies organize group activities for matches, and are sometimes given tickets to movies, sporting events, and cultural events which they offer to their matches.

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

Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies offer a wide variety of mentoring opportunities, and the programs offered vary from agency to agency. See Mentoring Programs for all the programs our agency provides.

Does mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters cost a lot of money?

It doesn't have to. Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages no-cost and low-cost activities, and in most agencies 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 your Caseworker 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. An exception would be Big Brother Big Sister mentoring programs that focus on assisting the Little Sister or Little Brother with their homework and studies.

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
How do I get started toward becoming a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer?

Check out the page Apply to be a mentor for an overview of the steps involved.

Do you accept everyone who applies to be a volunteer?

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

What steps do agencies take to ensure that inappropriate people are not accepted as volunteers?

Several steps are taken. For example, 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. Your local agency will be able to 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 across agencies, and also depends on the time it takes for the application process to be completed. Contact us to learn more.

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

When matching you with a Little Sister or Little Brother, 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 Little Brother or Little Sister. 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. In some agencies, you may 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?

In addition to going over the information in this section, you may wish to complete our Self-Assessment Checklist in our online orientation or contact us to get answers to other questions you may have.

I am a teenager, can I volunteer?

Possibly. Certain agencies offer mentoring opportunities for teenagers. Contact us to find out what is available.

I am a senior citizen, can I volunteer?

Most definitely! Most Big Brothers Big Sisters programs have no upper age limit to volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters - 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, and the caseworker is always there to support you.

Do I need to have access to a car?

This depends on the agency policies as well as the program you are volunteering for. Having a vehicle may be necessary in remote or rural areas; however, in urban centres 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?

Most likely, yes. Talk with your local agency - some offer programs with different commitment requirements. They will let you know if there is a program that might work for you. 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.

Q. Who are the children that apply to your program?

A. Little Sisters and Brothers are children who, through the encouragement and a special one-to-one friendship with a caring teen, enhance their sense of belonging, self-worth, resiliency and capacity to make healthy, well-informed decisions. They are between the ages of 7 and 13.

Q. Is there an age requirement to become a Big Buddy?

A. Volunteers are between 15 and 18 years old.

Q. What is the time commitment for volunteering as a Big Buddy?

A. Big Buddies spend one hour a week with their Little Brother or Sister, on school property. The commitment is until the end of June, with the option of continuing in the program in the following school year.

Q. What if I will be away?

A. We know that life is busy outside of being a volunteer with us and that from time to time you may miss some time with your match due to vacation, illness, etc. You can help ease that time by being open and clear about expected time away and return times, when you are talking with your Little and your Mentoring Coordinator.

Q. How do you match "Buddies" with "Littles"?

A. We take the time to get to know our volunteers and the kids in our program. We then carefully match Buddies with Littles based on a number of factors, including interests, personality, experience, age of child, etc.

Q. Will the staff at BBBS stay involved after the match is made?

A. Yes. It is mandatory to stay involved with the agency. This is the responsibility of all parties, including the Big Buddy, Little, and Parent/Guardian.

Q. Who should be a Big Buddy?

A. Big Buddies are caring teens who wish to provide encouragement and friendship to a child. They are people who are able to commit to spending one hour a week with a child from Autumn until June. Teens who would like extra support for their volunteering as a Big Buddy can find this through our partnership with Volunteer Victoria's Youth Volunteer Connections Program.

Q. Does the Big Buddies Program cost anything?

A. No, there are no fees associated with any of our programs. The focus of the program should be on quality time being spent together, rather than exciting activities that cost a lot of money.

Q. What are the benefits a teen receives from becoming a Big Buddy?

A: Studies show that mentoring relationships are proven to help girls and boys to:

  • Develop increased confidence, self-esteem and hope for the future;
  • Enhance their goals and expectations;
  • Improve academic performance;
  • Stay in school and go on to further their education;
  • Improve their communication and social skills;
  • Improve their interaction with peers;
  • Avoid the use of illegal drugs and alcohol;
  • Avoid the use of physical violence.

Q. What are the benefits a teen receives from becoming a Big Buddy?

  • Resume building for future employment.
  • Earn high school graduation hours.
  • Gain experience for working with children in education, recreation or human service work.
  • Building and enhancing leadership skills, interpersonal and teamwork skills.
  • Satisfaction of contributing to the community and making a BIG difference in the life of a child.

Q. Is there any training involved?

A. Yes. Once you have applied to our program, you will be invited to a training session. Topics such as abuse prevention, how to build self-esteem, volunteer roles and responsibilities, and asset development will be covered. Although a great deal of information is covered at this workshop, please recognize that this is just a starting point in your learning as a Big Buddy.

Q. How will I know what to do with my Little?

A. We make an effort to match Big Buddies with Littles who have similar interests. Big Buddies and Littles meet on school property and have access to some school facilities, as well as activities, games and supplies. BBBS staff provides ongoing support to the Buddies and Littles and can help with activities and plans.


Bowl Logo

Create a team and join Bowl for Kids Sake to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria!

Click here for more information!

Support Us!