Volunteer PROCESS


Welcome to the Big Brothers Big Sisters online orientation. You are here because you want to positively impact a young person. What you may not realize yet is that as you help ignite the potential of your Little, your life is also about to be changed.

We have many kids waiting for a Big just like you. We serve the Greater Chattanooga area, which includes Hamilton, Marion, and Bradley counties in Tennessee and Walker, Dade,and Catoosa counties in NW Georgia. If you live in one of those areas, you can become a Big in one of our two main programs.

The outcomes of mentoring speak for themselves – increased confidence, academic improvement,less involvement in high-risk behaviors, and a higher likelihood of heading onto college and potentially on one of our Big Brothers Big Sisters college scholarships.

We look forward to working with you and getting to know you. Thank you for your interest in standing with us as we ignite the potential of the youth in our community

volunteer PROCESS

welcome to big brothers big sisters

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 our application, 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

We ask all of our volunteer to commit to at least 12 months. Research shows that kids who have a strong relationship with their mentor have positive, lasting change after 12 months.

Our programs – Many ways to make a big impact!

Community - Based programs

Our Community-Based mentoring program matches adults with youth from the community, providing youth with an additional role model. As a community-based match, you meet together about twice a month at a time convenient for both you and your Little, and spend quality time together engaging in meaningful one-to-one activities. You participate in fun and everyday activities, like playing basketball, skating, heading to the jump park, playing games, going out to eat or just “hanging out.” Thanks to our many community partners, there are many opportunities to participate in free or discounted activities.

Site - Based Programs

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 varied schools and afterschool sites across Hamilton, Bradley, Marion, and Walker counties. As a school-based match, you and your Little might talk about life, do a little homework, play board games,throw a football or play basketball, play on the playground or draw.

Beyond School Walls

Beyond School Walls is a program that provides middle school students with the same mentoring experience but this time – at a place of work. Working closely with Hamilton County Schools and corporate partners, Big Brothers Big Sisters transports Littles weekly or twice a month from school to a designated corporate partner site. In addition to job shadowing and mentoring, students participate in customized group activities to learn basic life and employability skills. Mentors for this program come from in-place workplace partners. If you think your employer would be interested in this program, contact our Big Futures Manager, Haile Nottage at haile@bbbschatt.org.


E-Mentoring is a high school mentoring program focused on career and college preparation using the MentorU curriculum. The mission is to help high school students develop personal, academic and career skills by providing each student with a volunteer mentor with experience in a variety of areas. Through virtual mentoring,volunteer Bigs are able to develop the future leaders of our community.

Bigs in blue

Bigs in Blue is a unique subset of BBBS programs in which Littles are matched with Bigs who are police officers or other law enforcement personnel. Bigs in Blue operates throughout all other BBBS mentoring programs. Bigs in Blue helps to build bridges of understanding between communities and law enforcement.

Reading 2 learn

In this program, Bigs meet with their K-3 Little at school and focus on literacy. Reading 2 Learn matches will be provided with literacy training, tools, and supports.

Who is a big?

Bigs don’t need special skills, a ton of money, or a lot of experience with kids. You just need to be:

✓ A caring and supportive person.     
✓ Willing to share time, ideas, and experiences.    
✓ Someone who embraces differences.     
✓ Able to set and hold boundaries.      
✓ Put a child’s safety and well-being first.       

Here is what you are not expected to be:

✓ A judge      
✓ A savior       
✓ A parent       
✓ A babysitter     
✓ A counselor

What are some requirements?

✓ You have to be 18 to be a Big in the School-Based program and 21 to be a Big in the Community-Based program.
✓ You have to have a Driver’s license, reliable transportation, and car insurance.
✓ You should be able to commit to a minimum of one year – you can take our word for it that you will want to be a Big for many years!

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 18 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!

Benefits of a mentoring relationship

A great mentoring relationship can be a positive factor that helps balance some of the challenges kids face.

✓ Poverty       
✓ Substance Abuse      
✓ Problems in School      
✓ Issues relating to peers      
✓ Bullying      
✓ Absent parental figure

The positive benefits of a Little having a mentor include:

✓ Big serving as an additional positive role model     
✓ Promotes positive youth development (sense of self, sense of the future, enthusiasm for learning)       
✓ Provides new experiences

You're not alone

After you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist (BBBS Staff) will call you once a month for the 1st year of your match (and less frequently after that) to help with things like:

✓ Problem Solving
✓ Training     
✓ Ideas for building a friendship 
✓ Information and Resources 
✓ Support and Feedback  

Enrollment process

1. Orientation

You are almost done with this step!

2. Complete your application online

Once you complete the application, someone from the BBBS enrollment team will contact you to schedule your interview.

✓ Complete a one-to-one interview and homevisit. (The home visit is just for applicants in the Community-Based program)
✓ Criminal History Record Check and Fingerprinting (Having something on your background check is not an automatic disqualifier)
✓ References – You will list these on your application. Current or past Employers, Co-Workers, Friend, Neighbor, Spouse ofSpousal Equivalent (Must be a family member if you do not have a spouse or spousal equivalent)
✓ Online pre-match training (These will also be offered in online group sessions and in-person sessions soon!)  

3.After those steps are completed, your application is reviewed by our team for acceptance.

4. Once accepted, the enrollment team works to identify a little 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 matchmaking.

5. Once we have a match in mind, we will contact you to present a potential match.

6. 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.

Being a mentor is a privilege and BBBS reserves the right to accept or deny participants or to close a match at any time. Potential volunteers will be disqualified for the following:

✓ Failure to complete the screening process.
✓ Past history of sexual abuse of children
✓ Conviction of any crime involving children
✓ History of any sexually exploitive behavior.
✓ Termination from a paid or volunteer position caused by misconduct with a child.
✓  Demonstrating or expressing racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, or religious discriminatory views.

volunteer PROCESS

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

volunteer PROCESS

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.

Thank you for considering this commitment of your time and talents. If you would like to continue on and complete your application to be a Big, please continue below.

Big application