Be a Big - Your Way!

We have several options for you to defend the potential of youth. Check out which program fits you best and schedule an Info Session today!

Ways to be a Big

COMMUNITY-BASED

Big Brothers Big Sisters Community-based mentoring program matches children 7- to 17-years-old in a new match who desire a match with a Big. Once they are matched, they can stay matched until age 21. Mentors are expected to commit to meet with their mentee for a minimum of one year. Throughout the mentoring relationship, BBBS program staff monitor the matches and provide support to mentors. Typically, mentees and mentors meet two to four times each month and meeting at least 2-4 hours. The mentoring relationship is designed to provide a sense of safety and security, emotional support, build social skills, set goals,  build positive relationships, improve self-confidence, academic achievement, and future aspirations.  Mentors can be a Big, a Big Duo or a Big Family.

COMMUNITY-BASED REQUIREMENTS

  • At least 18 and out of high school
  • Commit to a minimum of one year after being matched
  • Attend volunteer informational session
  • Complete in-person interview
  • Pass background checks and required references
  • Have access to a vehicle, current driver’s license and proof of auto insurance

SITE OR SCHOOL-BASED

Big Brothers Big Sisters Site or School-based mentoring program matches children in K-8th grade with a High School Big or an adult. Once they are matched, they can stay matched until graduation. Mentors are expected to commit to meet with their mentee for a minimum of one year. The child and mentor meet at a school or site or virtually 2-4 times a month for 1 hour. A few activities that matches enjoy are playing board games, arts & crafts, and playing sports. Throughout the mentoring relationship, BBBS program staff monitor the matches and provide support to mentors. The mentoring relationship is designed to provide a sense of safety and security, emotional support, build social skills, set goals,  build positive relationships, improve self-confidence, academic achievement, and future aspirations.  Mentors can be a High School Big, or an adult Big.

SITE or SCHOOL-BASED REQUIREMENTS

  • High School Bigs must be in their second semester of freshmen year of high school or older
  • Adult Bigs must be at least 18 and out of high school
  • Commit to a minimum of one year after being matched
  • Attend volunteer information session
  • Complete in-person/Zoom interview
  • Pass background checks and required references

Dr. Potter Bigs on Campus is a twice-monthly mentoring program that takes place at St. Cloud State University. Thanks to Spanier Bus Service, junior and senior high school students are transported for free to SCSU. Matches spend their time together (on-campus only) exploring, attending events, participating in recreational activities, touring academic departments, and more!

This program is named for the late Dr. Earl H. Potter III, former President of St. Cloud State University. He signed the partnership agreement without hesitation in May 2016 and tragically passed away in a car crash on June 13, 2016. His commitment to youth in our community, the BBBS program, and the Bigs on Campus initiative inspired us to name the program in his honor.

Developed to open windows of opportunity for youth facing challenges in our community, most students are of color, from low-income homes, who would be first-generation college students. Additionally, many participants are Somali - allowing the program to create a welcoming connection to the community. This program serves students in an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class which aims to close the achievement gap between students such as these. 

BIGS ON CAMPUS VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

  • 18 or older, must be out of high school
  • Commit to a minimum of 12 months after being matched
  • Attend volunteer informational session
  • Complete in-person/Zoom interview
  • Pass background checks and required references

Sports Buddies is a fun way to mentor through participating and spectating sports. In this initiative, one-to-one mentoring friendships between an adult and youth are formed while engaging in athletics. Bigs make a 6-month commitment with the option to continue their match after the 6-month mark. They will attend 1-2 events per month organized by BBBS staff. Activities will be about two hours long and primarily on a Tuesday or Thursday evening, but this will depend on the activity. A 6-month calendar will be provided. The Big will only spend time with their Little at BBBS Sports Buddies events or at BBBS agency-sponsored activities. The Little’s family is responsible for coordinating transportation to and from activities. The BBBS Program Coordinator will conduct all scheduling and communication between Big, Little, and Little’s family. Sports Buddies is a great way to mentor and build community with other matches that love sports!

SPORTS BUDDIES REQUIREMENTS

  • Adult Bigs must be at least 18 and out of high school
  • Commit to a minimum of six months, 1-2 times a month, after being matched
  • Attend BBBS Sports Buddies planned events only
  • Little's family provides transportation to events. 
  • Attend a volunteer information session
  • Complete in-person/Zoom interview
  • Pass background checks and required references 

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VIRTUAL MENTORING

Bigs and Littles meet 2-4 times a month virtually through a video call (Zoom, Facetime, Google Meets, etc. ). Matches can play games, cards, listen to music, watch movies all from wherever they are!

VIRTUAL MENTORING REQUIREMENTS

  • 18 or older, must be out of high school
  • Commit to a minimum of 12 months after being matched
  • Attend volunteer informational session
  • Complete in-person/Zoom interview
  • Pass background checks and required references
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What types of Bigs are there?

HIGH SCHOOL BIGS

High School Students in the Sauk Rapids, Saint Cloud, Sartell, Foley and Pierz Schools can become Bigs through our High School Bigs program and meet with their Little at the Little’s school. Bigs in this program meet with their Little about an hour a week and may enroll in their Junior, sophomore or the 2nd term of their freshman year.

Bigs

A Big is an individual who is at least 18 years of age who meets with a Little 2 to 4 times a month to do things they both enjoy.  A Big can choose to mentor in either the School-Based Program or the Community-Based Program. 

Big Duos

A Big Duo is two adult Bigs mentoring together. A Big Duo may be matched with one child. This offers flexibility in scheduling. Usually, the Big Duo participates in activities with the Little together, but could also schedule with just one of the Bigs. In a Big Duo Match, a Little gets a model of a healthy relationship. Big Duos can mentor in the Community-Based Program. 

Big Families

Big Families can be an individual Big with kids of their own or two Bigs with kids of their own who all want to enjoy meeting with a Little as a Big Family. Occasional one-to-one time is encouraged, but activities often involve the whole family. Big Families can mentor in the Community-Based Program. 

Take the Next step to become a Big!

FOR ADULT BIGS (18+ AND OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL): Click on the steps below to defend the potential of youth!

  1. FILL OUT AN INTEREST FORM    

  2. WATCH THIS BBBS 101 VIDEO    

  3. COMPLETE A VOLUNTEER BIG APPLICATION

  4. SIGN UP FOR AND ATTEND A ONE-HOUR INFO SESSION/ORIENTATION VIA ZOOM OR IN-PERSON    

  5. SIGN UP FOR AN INTERVIEW THROUGH THE INVITE SENT TO YOU AFTER STEPS 1-4

  6. ATTEND AN IN-PERSON OR ZOOM INTERVIEW 

FOR HIGH SCHOOL BIGS: Find your school below and contact the listed Program Coordinator 

Foley and Pierz Schools - Contact Kayla Meyer
Kayla@BigDefenders.org
320.241-7996 (call or text)

St. Cloud and Sauk Rapids Schools - Contact Robyn Rieland
Robyn@BigDefenders.org
320.258-4512 (call or text)

Sartell Schools - Contact Jamie Lodermeier
Jamie@BigDefenders.org
320.258-4532 (call or text)