In mid-July, I decided to fill out an application to become a “Big Sister” for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS). I had been thinking about it for more than a year, but I just now seem stable enough to devote consistent time to a “Little”. I had no idea what the process would entail though, lol.
Process Up to Now
Here’s the breakdown of what has been required so far to volunteer with the BBBS program:
- Fill out basic 5 minute application.
- Fill out the more detailed 15 minute application.
- Send in the 5 work and private/social references that they requested. This took about an hour to find everybody’s basic info and text them all to make sure that using them was okay.
- Sent in a copy of my driver’s license and car insurance.
- Spent just 20 minutes overall of texting to make sure that all of my references received the quick info sheet that they needed to fill out about me and send back to BBBS.
- Scheduled an interview with a match specialist.
- Took the 1.5 hour online “training course” that consisted of watching 2-5 minute informational videos about BBBS, writing down video codes, and then taking a quick quiz to make sure you know not to be stupid.
- Had the 1.5 hour interview with the match specialist, which included answering more questions about me and my home environment and letting them know what I was looking for in a “Little”.
- Now I have to wait 2 weeks for a letter letting me know if I am approved.
- Then I’ll wait 1-5 months for a match.
My View So Far
I am actually still super excited. :-) I mean, there has been more involved with this than with any other volunteer program I have worked with ever before, but I understand. I’m going to be working with a kid…they have to cover everybody’s butt. ;-) I just hope that I get a match sooner rather than later. I am getting better with having patience in day-to-day stuff, but long-term patience when I am excited about something is still lost on me.
Based on the feedback I got off of my match specialist, I will be getting accepted into the program as long as everything I said checks out and I am not a secret serial killer or anything. So I should be good to go with BBBS in a couple of weeks. Then I just have to wait for a match. In general, they try to find a match as close to your requirements that is within a 30 minute drive of your house. Since I had very few requirements, my match specialist thinks I will get matched quickly, so within a month or two after being officially accepted. I might have a “Little” as early as late September.
My Ideal Match
Since I didn’t care about gender, age, or “little” issues like ADHD, I am pretty open in their books. My only “requirements” were that I was looking for a kid that wasn’t prejudiced (no racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) and wasn’t a “girly-girl” since I generally suck at that. I just recently learned how to put on my own makeup, so giving me a kid that is really into fashion and style would be pretty awful to the kid. I also mentioned in passing that it would be cool if they liked animals and food since most of my ideal outings would be around animals or food, lol.
I also declined working with severely emotionally challenged kids since this is my first time. I was fine with kids that have a parent in prison or have suffered abuse of any sort, but I just had to say no to kids that were in juvenile detention at some point themselves or who suffered from extreme emotional disorders. My match specialist let me know that even with my few restrictions, I didn’t really narrow the field much at all. So, yay!
On their end, about 70% of their Littles are boys, but only 30% of their Bigs are male. The age range for Littles that are just being assigned is 7 years to 15 years old. Female Bigs can be used for all female Littles or even male Littles from 7-11 years old. But, most of their female Bigs request young, female Littles. That means that there are a ton of 10+ aged males that end up waiting for a Big for a while.
My Best Guess
Most likely, I’ll be matched with a 10-11 year old boy with ADHD, lol. That sounds great to me, so fingers crossed!
Oh, and you can keep being a Big Sister to a teenaged male as long as you two were paired up earlier. That was important to me because I didn’t want to be assigned to an 11 year old boy and then have to say bye when he turned 12. Apparently, they just want you matched long enough that the boy sees you as a friend or authority figure before his hormones go all wonky.
My largest concern now is the waiting time. So wish me luck for a late-September match! Also, I’m already excited and making lists of cheap activity ideas…of course, I had a ton of those on BFS to steal ideas from, hahaha. BBBS requests that you don’t spend a ton of money during your weekly or biweekly visits, so I actually searched around online and found a few awesome ideas.
One Big Sister set a $25 a week budget with her Little, and they save whatever they don’t use each week to place towards more expensive activities in the future. I’m stealing that one (but will be setting the amount at $20 per week). Maybe it will even help my Little to learn to budget! I also looked up a ton of restaurants in my area that have Kids-Eat-Free days so we can stretch the budget even more.
And I started a list of free or discount activities that happen once in a while like Free Tuesday evenings at the zoo after school starts again. Overall, I am ready to go with a ton of ideas and just need a Little to help brainstorm some more and pick the ones they like too.
What do you think? Would you volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters?