Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio (BBBSECO) recognizes that making the best possible match between a Little and a Big is critical to the growth and development of a child or teen. However, BBBSECO also recognizes the importance of safety for all children and teens, which is why youth safety is our number one priority! We, therefore, start by thoroughly screening potential Bigs in accordance with Big Brothers Big Sisters National Standards of Excellence requirements. These include:
- Completion of a formal written application
- Background and reference checks
- In-person interview
- Orientation and training that…
- Outlines the individualized needs of your child
- Provides information and resources on how to encourage your child’s development
You can review the full process to become a Big here.
BBBSECO also provides you and your child with child safety tips, and we welcome your questions and feedback. For the entire duration of the match, your Mentoring Specialist will regularly be in touch with you, your child, and your child’s Big – allowing us to support the development of a strong relationship that will have the greatest impact on your child’s future successes.
Bigs serve many purposes. Sometimes, a child just needs an additional role model and sometimes, a child is affected by a certain event and does not know how to cope. Many times, a non-parent role model provides a trusted source in which Littles can confide.
Definitely not! A Big acts as a non-parent mentor and third-party role model. Bigs are there for Littles as a supplement to parents, not as a replacement.
We offer two primary programs, our Community-Based Program and our School-Based programs, both serving children throughout Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties. The type of program in which your child will be enrolled depend on his or her age, school, and needs. If you’d like to discuss our program options with a Mentoring Specialist to determine what might be the best fit for your child, you can contact us anytime!
The duration of the mentoring relationship depends completely on your child, you, and your child’s Big. We ensure that all parties involved are aware that the lasting impact of mentoring takes place at the 12-month mark and that the longer the relationship lasts, the greater the positive effects. Mentoring Specialists provide bonding opportunities and support to facilitate long-lasting relationships.
Depending on the program in which your child participates, he/she will meet with his/her Big once a month to once a week. The frequency, time, location, duration, and activities involved in a mentoring session will vary based on the program. For Bigs in Schools, Bigs visit the Littles’ school at a time that does not disrupt the Littles’ education. For community-based mentoring, all the details are flexible, and it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to coordinate mentoring sessions with the Little’s Big. The minimum meeting requirements for each program are:
- Community-based – at least four hours each month, in the community
- Site-based – once a week, for at least one hour, on school property or at designated program site throughout the school year
These are just the minimum requirements, and we encourage more frequent meetings when available. For the programs that meet less frequently, Bigs are expected to keep in touch with their Littles between meetings – essential for developing a bond.
We thoroughly screen every Big to ensure this does not happen. However, on the off chance that it does, reach out to your assigned Mentoring Specialist to express your concerns. Mentoring Specialists are trained staff who will check in with you on a regular basis to ensure everything is going smoothly. They will also provide opportunities for your child to develop a bond with his or her Big, such as group events and tickets to sporting events.
We typically have a waitlist of Littles waiting to be matched with a Big. However, that does not mean that your child won’t be matched until every child enrolled before yours is matched with a Big. Mentoring Specialists evaluate personalities and interests of both Bigs and Littles to determine a good fit for a lasting and effective relationship. Depending on your child’s needs, finding a Big can take anywhere from three months to a year. We actively establish new partnerships and recruit new Bigs on an ongoing basis to fill the needs of our Littles and their families as quickly as possible.
Great! We are happy to welcome you and your child to the BBBSECO family! You can take the next steps by reviewing the orientation packet and downloading the Child Application here. When the application is complete, simply contact us and we’ll set up your interview!