We’ve always known we were making a positive impact on children and empowering them to succeed. A nationwide study confirmed it for us.
We are excited that you’re interested in partnering with us to ignite the potential of youth in our community. Our mission is to create and support one to one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Before you fill out the inquiry form, we want you to know a few things about our programs.
Our one-to-one mentoring programs are built on-
✓ Volunteer Screening and Training
✓ Intentional Matching
✓ Enthusiastic support of the Mentoring Match
✓ Child Safety
Community-Based: Our Community-Based mentoring program matches adults with youth from the community, providing youth with an additional role model. In this program, children spend time with a Big twice a month for a few hours. They are out in the community doing things like playing sports, riding bikes, going out to eat or just hanging out.
Site-Based: Throughout the school year, Bigs in the Site-Based programs meet with their Littles weekly at school or another site. These programs take place in schools and after school sites across Hamilton and Walker counties. As a school-based match, your Little and their Big might talk about life, do a little homework, play board games, throw a football or play basketball, play on the playground or draw. Contact us if you are unsure if we have a program at your child’s school/after school site.
Beyond School Walls: The Beyond School Walls Workplace Mentoring model is a one-to-one Site-Based Mentoring program through which BBBS and a local company partner to engage a cohort of middle school youth at select school partners in an office setting for regular, one-to-one meetings with their Big, a professional from the partner company. Youth learn firsthand the skills they would need to succeed in the partner company and can explore career options that may have otherwise been unknown to them.
E-Mentoring: High school students at select school partners communicate with their mentors through online platforms once a week. The Bigs and Littles meet up once a month at their high school during the school year and follow activities led by professional staff. The mission of MentorU is to help high school students develop personal, academic and career skills.
Bigs in Blue: Youth are mentored by law enforcement to build bridges of understanding; this can be done in any of our aforementioned programs.
WHO IS A BIG?
Bigs don’t need special skills, a ton of money, or a lot of experience with kids.
The ideal Big is:
✓ A caring and supportive person
✓ Willing to share time, ideas, and experiences
✓ Someone who embraces differences
✓ Able to set and hold boundaries
✓ Focused on child’s safety and well-being first
A Big is not:
✓ A judge
✓ A savior
✓ A parent
✓ A babysitter
✓ A counselor
WHO IS A LITTLE?
Youth in our program are from all walks of life who want and need a mentor in their lives. They range anywhere from 6 to 14 years old and then can be a part of our program until the age of 18. Our Littles often come from single-parent families, but the most important factor about them is they are full of Potential! YOU’RE NOT ALONE - After your child is matched with a Big, a Match Support Specialist (BBBS Staff) will call you and your child once a month for the 1st year of your match (and less frequently after that) to help with things like:
✓ Problem Solving
✓ Ideas for helping your child reach their goals!
✓ Information and Resources
✓ Support and Feedback
✓ Child Safety
1- Orientation – You are almost done with this step!
2- Complete the youth inquiry form online. Once you complete the inquiry form, someone from the BBBS enrollment team will contact you to answer any questions and send you the Application and a survey for you to complete. The application and survey asks for some personal and sensitive demographic information. Please know that these questions are for funding and statistical purposes and do not impact your child’s eligibility.
3- Once you complete the application, someone from the BBBS enrollment team will contact you to schedule your interview. Requirements:
a. Complete an online training for parents. Made possible through a partnership with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, “Your Child’s Personal Safety: What Parents Need to Know About Child Sexual Abuse” is designed to introduce parents and guardians to the important steps Big Brothers Big Sisters takes to protect children and role of parents and guardians in keeping their child(ren) safe.
b. Complete a one-to-one interview with you and your child. The interview is a time for us to get to know your family better and help us in finding the best possible mentor for your child based on their personality and needs.
4- After those steps are completed, your application is reviewed by our team for acceptance.
5- Once accepted, the enrollment team works to identify a Big for a potential match. Matches are made based on similar interests, geographical location, personality, values, and done by the Enrollment Team with a history of successful match making.
6- Once we have a match in mind, we will contact you to present a potential Big. Both the Volunteer and Parent/Guardian must agree to the match.
7- Next is the best part! The Enrollment Team will set up a convenient time for the Match Introduction Meeting. This is an exciting time for the Big, Little, and Parent/Guardian to meet for the first time and spend time getting to know one another and going over rules and guidelines.
OUR COMMITMENT TO CHILD SAFETY AND YOUTH PROTECTION
Our #1 priority at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga is child safety and youth protection. We have a comprehensive system of youth protection to help ensure the safety of youth. This system includes policies and procedures that best protect youth, effective screening and selection of staff and volunteers, and professional monitoring of match relationships. All staff, parents, volunteers, and children are required to be trained in recognizing and responding to suspected child abuse. We focus heavily on the quality and integrity of our volunteers by completing a thorough screening and background check on all Volunteers.
OUR COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
All BBBS participants, including, youth, families, volunteers, board, and staff serving as volunteer Bigs are not excluded on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, color, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, citizenship status, veteran status, or disability.Big Brothers Big Sisters is intentionally inclusive in who we serve, who we are, and what we represent to the community at large. We are committed to ensuring our programs are inclusive to all youth and volunteers. We recognize, honor, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of all of our participants, including, youth, families, volunteers, board and staff. It is our privilege to partner with you and a mentor to help your child ignite and fulfill their potential. Our team is here to ensure your child’s match is a successful, safe and rewarding experience. If you would like to continue on and complete your application to enroll a child, please continue below.