Volunteer FAQs

Who are the Bigs in the program?

They are regular people, just like you! You don't need special degrees or job skills, just the desire to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit!

Who are the Littles in the program?

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.

When can I see my Little Brother or Little Sister?

Consistency is the most important part of the mentoring experience. You meet with your Little at least two times per month. As a "match", you and your Little decide what to do. Until your relationship is established, the outings will depend on the comfort level of you, your Little, and their parents. 

What is the time commitment?

Volunteers must be willing to commit to being matched with a child for at least one year and meet with their Little Brother or Sister two to four times per month. Most matches last more than two years and may continue until the child is 18. Every day we hear stories of matches who are still close friends even after their match officially closes!

How much money should I spend?

Quality time with your Little doesn't have a price. The goal of the relationship is to help your Little see the world through a different lens and inspire them to become something they never thought possible. Our agency offers group activities that are a great way to meet other matches. You can also sign up for our Think Big program to receive notices on free tickets for events and activities. 

What are some good ideas of outings with my Little?

Take part in an activity you're both interested in! Shoot some hoops at the park, play a game together, talk about music you like - the options are limitless! Select activities where you can both learn about each other. For children, playing can be learning. Most importantly: keep it simple and have fun!

Can I bring my spouse, a friend or family member on outings?

At the beginning of your relationship, it's important for you and your Little to get to know each other which is best achieved on a one-on-one basis. However, over time, it's important for your Little to know who is in your life. Keep in mind your Little may feel rejected or jealous if you spend too much time with others. The main focus is the friendship you and your Little will develop and the impact it will have on their life. 

Will I become a replacement parent?

Littles already have a parent or guardian in their life. They want a Big to spend quality time with; someone to have fun with and to confide in. 

What is the background check for? How much does it cost?

A background check is required for all adult volunteers in contact with minors in our program to assure child safety. The fee is around $35.00. As a non-profit, we are unable to cover the cost of the background check. 

How do you match a Big with a Little?

We conduct in-depth interviews with the Bigs, Littles, and parents/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. 

What kind of support can I expect from Big Brothers Big Sisters?

Once matched, a Program Specialist will be in regular contact with you to provide guidance, support, and feedback. They can help with activity ideas, guidance for handling a difficult situation, and feedback on your experience. Big Brothers Big Sisters also offers trainings and provides resources so that we can ensure that your match is successful. 

What kind of impact will my match have on the child's life? 

Being a Big is 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 begin using illegal drugs
  • 27% less likely to begin using 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, increase in positive family relationships, and have more hope for the future. 

What can I expect from the Volunteer Information Session? How do I sign up for one? 

Our Volunteer Information Session gives you a formal overview of our programs, the youth we serve, impact and commitment. These sessions are offered 3-4 times per month as 40 minute webinars. Click here to sign up for a webinar.

My company encourages volunteerism, how can I get my company involved?

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. 

What programs can I volunteer in?

You can volunteer in our community-based program or site-based program. In the community-based program, you will meet with a child in the community on days and times that are convenient for you. In the site-based program, you will meet with a child at one of our partner sites on designated days during the child's lunch break or after-school. Our current site-based locations are:

Boys & Girls Club - Colangelo Branch (Group Mentoring)
Cross-Streets: On 34th Ave, just North of McDowell Rd
(MEETS 1st & 3rd Monday between 4:00-5:00 PM)  

Child Crisis Center - Independent Living Complex (Group Mentoring)
Cross-Streets: 20th St and Thomas
(MEETS 2nd & 4th Thursday between 6:00-7:00 PM)  
The youth enrolled in this program are young adults in foster care who reside at an independent living complex. Structured activities in this program will be focused on helping youth graduate from high school, prepare for college/trade school and career exploration.

Emerson Elementary
Cross-Streets:  Alma School & University
(MEETS Tuesdays & lunch times vary between 11 AM-1 PM)

ICAN Youth Center
Cross-Streets:  Arizona Ave & Pecos
(MEETS every other Wednesday from 4:30-5:30 PM)

Lowell Elementary School
Cross-Streets:  3rd Ave & Buckeye
(MEETS Tuesdays & lunch times vary between 11:30 AM-1 PM)

Maie Bartlett Heard Elementary School  
Cross-Streets:  Thomas & I-17
(MEETS Tuesdays & lunch times vary between 10:30 AM-1 PM) 

Loma Linda Elementary
Cross-Streets: 20th St. & Osborn
(MEETS Mondays between 11 AM -1 PM)

North Tempe Multi-generational Center (Group Mentoring)
Cross-Streets:  Near Scottsdale Rd & McKellips
(MEETS 1st & 3rd Thursday between 4:00-5:00 PM)  

one•n•ten LGBTQ Youth Center
Cross-Streets:  Central Ave and Portland
(MEETS every other Saturday from 11 AM-1 PM

Sacaton Boys & Girls Club
Cross-Streets:  Seedfarm & Cholla Ave
(MEETS every other Wednesday from 4:30 PM-5:30 PM)

San Marcos Elementary
Cross-Streets:  Frye & Arizona Ave
(MEETS Thursdays & lunch times vary between 11 AM-1 PM)

Scales Technology Academy
Cross-Streets:  5th St & Hardy
(MEETS Thursdays & lunch times vary between 11 AM-1 PM)

Do all volunteers get accepted?

No. This is based upon the results of the background check as well as the discretion of the agency. 

Can I be a Big if I don't know much about kids?

Yes you can! You'll have a dedicated and professionally trained Program Specialist who will assist you throughout the duration of the match with helpful suggestions designed to specifically enhance your relationship with your Little. 

Can I volunteer even if I have a criminal record? 

We handle this on a case-by-case basis. It is important that you disclose this to us and address it fully. In some instances an offense may not be an obstacle because it is minor or long ago. In other instances, for example a case that is still open, it is a disqualifier. 

Can I still be a Big if I don't have a car? 

Yes. Volunteers who don't have a car can be a Big in one of our site-based programs in which you can meet with a child at a designated site. Additionally, volunteers can become a Big in our community based program if they own or have access to a car they are insured on. 

Do I have to be employed to be a Big? 

No. Volunteers can apply to be a Big if they are retired, in college or graduate school, or do not work outside the home.

Does BBBSAZ accept LGBTQ volunteers?

Yes. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona values diversity, and no person will be denied equal opportunity under applicable laws to volunteer 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 parent/guardian. If preferences are not aligned, BBBSAZ will work to find a Little who we believe will be a good match for you.

Do you support court-ordered volunteering?

No, we do not allow court-ordered volunteering.