Community-based Mentoring – Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Bigs in the program?

Our Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and Big Couples come from diverse backgrounds just like our Littles. They are regular people, just like you. You don’t need any special degrees or job skills. You just have to want to positively impact a young person. Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and you could be a perfect fit! *Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, physical condition, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

*Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, physical condition, marital status, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

Who are the Littles in the program?

Our Little Brothers and Sisters are youth, ages 6 to 18, who are in need of another positive, adult influence in their lives. Most children in our programs are involved because their parents/guardians recognized the need for additional guidance and support. Our Littles come from a variety of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, but the majority are African American and Hispanic children residing in Milwaukee's central city, North Side, and Northwest Side and Waukesha.

What is the time commitment for Bigs?

In order to build a friendship that will have a positive, long-lasting impact on a child’s life, we ask our volunteers to be part of at least a two-year relationship with their Little and meet three to four times a month.

When can I see my Little Brother?

You and your Little decide together what you want to do and then you obtain permission for each outing from your Little’s parent/guardian. We recommend that you keep a consistent schedule of outings and get together on a regular basis. Until your relationship is established the outings will also depend on the comfort level of your Little’s parents, your Little, and you.

How much money should I spend?

The quality of time invested with your Little is more important than the amount of money you spend. That’s why we don’t encourage spending a lot of money on your outings. The goal of the relationship is to help him/her see the world through a different lens so you can inspire him/her to become something they never thought possible. If you are going to spend money, we encourage you to seek out low-cost activities, especially in the beginning. Shoot hoops at a local park, play a game together, or share that pizza that you were going to have for lunch anyway. We offer donor-supported REACH Activities that are a great way to meet other Bigs and Littles. As a Big, you will also receive email notices for free tickets to cultural and sports activities for you both to enjoy.

What are some good ideas for outings with my Little?

Share an activity that gives you something in common to talk about. You can shoot hoops, help with homework, or visit a local museum together You want to select activities that give each of you a chance to learn more about one another. Most important: keep it simple and enjoy yourselves!

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

In the beginning, it’s important for you and your Little to get to know each other. This can happen best on a one-to-one basis. However, over time, it’s also valuable for your Little to get to know the people who are important to you. Just keep in mind that if you’re spending a lot of time with others, your Little may begin to feel as though they’re not as important to you as they thought. The main focus is the friendship you develop with your Little and the impact you have on his/her life. Of course if you’re a Big Couple, this will look a little different!

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

Once you are matched with your Little, a Match Support Specialist from the agency will be in regular contact with you to provide assistance and give feedback. Any time you are unsure about what to do or how to handle a situation, you will have a Match Support Specialist there to help. They’ll help you with ideas for activities, guidance for handling possible difficult situations and feedback on how you are making a difference. You'll also receive a monthly email newsletter with lots of ideas of free and inexpensive things to do in the community, including our free and staffed REACH Activities.

Will I become a replacement parent?

No, Littles have a parent or guardian in their life already. What they need is someone outside of their family to spend quality, one-on-one time with them. Someone to have fun with, someone they can confide in, someone like you!