Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio’s (BBBSECO) core one-to-one mentoring programs are designed to create and develop a strong relationship between a child/teen and a mentor. Professional staff carefully match each youth participant (Little) with an adult, volunteer mentor (Big) for a mentoring relationship intended to be long-lasting, engaging, and effective in developing the Little’s potential. All relationships are professionally supported by BBBSECO staff to ensure relationships are sustained over time with productive results. Programs in the core one-to-one mentoring category include community-based mentoring and school-based mentoring.
Community - Based Mentoring
The core of BBBSECO programs is community-based mentoring. Littles in need of a mentor are matched with a volunteer Big who develops and maintains a relationship, serving as a positive role model and source of reliable support. Matches are based on common interests, backgrounds, and aspirations allowing for a strong connection to grow over time. Bigs and Littles explore the local community and share fun activities they both enjoy at least four hours a month. Some Bigs meet their Littles on the weekends, while others meet in the evenings. Each match is unique and develops a schedule that works for them.
Bigs and Littles create memories to last a lifetime. BBBSECO staff works with the Big and the Little’s family to encourage a continuous relationship and provide opportunities to participate in fun and engaging activities throughout the year. Staff also provide support for Bigs who may not know how to handle certain situations that may arise.
Getting together enriches the lives of both the Little and the Big. Outings do not require a special occasion or an expensive activity – just a few hours of quality time each month to share experiences in our community. These include, but are not limited to:
- Taking a walk or throwing a ball in a park
- Going to a museum
- Listening to music
- Attending a sports event
- Going to the lake
- Getting ice cream
These simple experiences are important opportunities for Littles to be heard, supported, and guided in a positive manner.
School - Based Mentoring
Similar to community-based mentoring, school-based mentoring creates one-on-one mentoring matches between Bigs and Littles. However, all mentoring activities take place at a designated site – at the Little’s school either during their school day or immediately after school – for one hour each week. High school students also have the opportunity to serve as Bigs in this program. The match process and support, as well as the overall impact, is the same as that of community-based mentoring: each Little has a positive role model who offers support and guidance throughout the year. Mentoring activities can include reading, board games, sports, computer games, homework help, or a simple conversation.
School-based mentoring is not a tutoring program; instead, mentors offer guidance. Research has shown children matched with a Big experience significant improvements in their academic lives. In fact, Littles who participate in the site-based mentoring program:
- Have improved academic performance
- Demonstrate higher levels of self-confidence
- Have a better attitude toward school
Additional Match Types
Bigs in Badges
Bigs in Badges is a part of our Community-Based and School-Based Mentoring program. First responders and law enforcement that enroll as Bigs are a part of this program. In addition to the significant benefits of mentoring seen in our primary programs, Bigs in Badges has the added benefit of establishing and strengthening trust between our youth and law enforcement/first responders
Building Brotherhood is a part of our Community-Based Mentoring that provides extra support to Big Brother-Little Brother relationships. The program utilizes our partnership with the YMCA to provide scheduled times where these matches can come together to play sports, swim, or just hang out with other matches. These male mentors are provided with these activites to help give extra support and guidance as they build their relationship with their Little.
Pen Pal Program
The Pen Pal Program was created through a partnership with Newsymom.com as a way to connect all Littles on our Waiting List with a mentor immediately. During enrollment, Littles can opt into our Pen Pal program and be immediately connected with a screened adult that will communicate with them by letters, offering encouragement, support, and just another friend until they are offically matched with their Big.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
john C. Crosby