YOUR BIG QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Our Bigs come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit.
If you are a School-Site Big, you will have a set time to meet your Little at their school once a week. If you are a Community-Based Big, you and your Little decide together what you want to do. Then you and your Little get approval from his/her parent. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis. The outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little, and you. This often looks like a few hours a couple times a month. Your Match Support Specialist will provide more guidance on this.
Although most of our Bigs do volunteer on their own, we also have our Big Couple and Big Family options for Community-Based Bigs. Being a Big Couple or Big Family is is a great way to include your loved ones in the Big Experience. We make sure to match you with a child that is open to or looking for a Big Couple/Family experience instead of the traditional Big Brother or Big Sister match.
In the beginning, even for Big Couples and Big Families, it’s most important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending lots of time with others, your Little may begin to feel less important or neglected. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little.
The quality of the time you invest with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is to help your Little see the world through a different lens so you can inspire your Little to become something they never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. We also plan 5-7 activities each month that are free for Big/Little matches to attend, and they are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big, you will also receive notices for free tickets to events and discounts at local businesses for you both to enjoy.
Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. Go to the library, check out a book, and read together. Buy a comic book to read together. Play a board game. Go on a nature walk. Hit a bucket of golf balls at the local driving range. Take a ride in the car with the radio on and talk about the music you like. You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. For children, playing can be learning. Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves. Your Match Support Specialist can help you with outing ideas. And don't forget that we plan 5-7 activities each month, free for Bigs and Littles to attend!
Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Minnesota will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist you can contact for help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations, and feedback on how you are making a difference.
No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is a Big to spend quality, one-on-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!
Are you ready to defend the potential of a local child?