They are volunteers ages 18+ who desire to positively impact a young person. Our Bigs have diverse backgrounds, professions and life experiences, but all of them share the desire to be a role model for a child in their community. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and could be a perfect fit for your child!
Our Littles are children ages 6-18 looking for a mentor in their lives. They are referred by teachers, parents, counselors, and partner organizations. Big Brothers Big Sisters assists children most in need, including those living in single-parent homes, growing up in poverty, or coping with parental incarceration. The one thing they all have in common is they want a mentor to be their friend and help them achieve their goals.
Consistency is the most important part of the mentoring experience. Your child will meet with their Big at least two times per month. As a "match", they decide on the activities they will do with your input. Until their relationship is established, the outings will depend on the comfort level of your child, the Big, and the child's parent/guardians.
Volunteers and families must be willing to commit to being matched or at least one year and meet two to four times per month. Most matches last more than two years and may continue until your child is 18. Every day we hear stories of matches who are still close friends even after their match officially closes out of our program.
We encourage free or low-cost activities and provide Bigs and Littles with access to our ThinkBIG program to receive notices on free tickets for events and community activities. However, quality time with a Big doesn't have a price. The goal of the relationship is to help your child see the world through a different lens and inspire them to be their best selves.
The match can take part in activities they are both interested in! Shoot some hoops at the park, play a game together, talk about the music they like, go to the movies - the options are limitless! They can select activities where they both can learn about each other. For children, playing can be learning. Most importantly we ask that you keep it simple and have fun!
At the beginning of their relationship, it's important for your child and the Big to get to know each other, which is best achieved on a one-on-one basis. However, over time, it can be important for the child to know who is in the Big's life as well. Keep in mind, the child may feel rejected or jealous if the Big spends too much time with others. The main focus is the development of the friendship of the Big and the Little and the impact it will have on their lives.
Your child already has a parent or guardian in their lives- YOU! A Big is just another person to spend quality time with, have fun with, and to confide in. The role of a Big is to be a positive adult friend and role model. Bigs are not replacement parents, tutors, or counselors.
We conduct in-depth interviews with the Bigs, Littles, and parent/guardians enrolling in our program so we can get to know all parties and can make the best match! We make matches based on common interests, personalities, preferences, and geography.
Once matched, a Program Specialist will be in regular contact with you to provide guidance, support, and feedback. They can help with activity ideas, handling difficult situations, and discuss your experience. Big Brothers Big Sisters also offers training and provides resources so that we can ensure that your child's match is successful.
Having a Big Brother or Sister can be life-changing for our Littles. Research has found that children who spend 18 months in our program compared to those not in our program were:
- 46% less likely to use illegal drugs
- 27% less likely to use alcohol
- 52% less likely to skip school
- 37% less likely to skip a class
- 33% less likely to hit someone
Littles also report being more confident, show an increase in positive family relationships, and have more hope for their future.
We would be happy to visit your employer and meet your coworkers to chat about volunteer opportunities as well as how to support Big Brothers Big Sisters. Please call us at 602-393-4138 to schedule a visit.
You can enroll your child in our Community-Based program or Site-Based program. In the Community-Based program, your child will meet with their Big in the community on days and times that are convenient for them. In the Site-Based program, if your child's school is one of our partner sites, they will meet on designated days during your child's lunch break or after-school. Our current site-based locations are:
- Emerson Elementary (Mesa)
- Esperanza Elementary (Phoenix)
- iCan Youth Center (Chandler) meets after school
- Longview Elementary (Phoenix)
- Lowell Elementary School (Phoenix)
- Maie Bartlett Heard School (Phoenix)
- Navajo Elementary School (Scottsdale)
- one-n-ten LGBTQ Youth Center (Phoenix) meets weekends
- Paiute Neighborhood Center (Scottsdale) meets after school
- San Marcos Elementary (Chandler)
- Scales Technology Academy (Tempe)
Yes. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona values diversity, and no person will be denied equal opportunity under applicable laws to enroll your child because of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Preferences, fit, and similarity of interests are taken into consideration. As part of the matching process, we will disclose such information to the volunteer. If preferences are not aligned, BBBSAZ will work to find a Big who we believe will be a good match for your child.
Please contact our Community Relations Coordinator, JP Adan at 602-899-9773 or submit an inquiry on our website: https://www.bbbsaz.org/enroll/. Youth ages 6-15 are eligible to enroll and teens may stay enrolled until they turn 18 or graduate from high school.