FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a one-to-one mentorship program that makes meaningful, monitored matches between Bigs (volunteers) and Littles (local youth). Through these matches, our purpose is to defend, empower, and ignite the Littles’ potential and help them to reach their goals.

  • Bigs and Littles in Community-Based programs complete Match Activities together, which are activities such as playing games, doing crafts, visiting a playground or library, or learning new skills together.  Match Activities are activities that are child-friendly, approved by the parent or guardian, within agency guidelines, and allow for the Big & Little to spend time and learn from each other. Site-Based programs often have set activities or curriculums for the matches to complete together.

    If there is ever a struggle to find activities to do together, we can recommend fun and educational ideas.

  • The ideal amount of time matches to meet is between 1-3 hours every week or at least 4 hours per month.

  • Match Activities between Bigs and Littles are one-to-one, as the one-to-one aspect helps to develop the mentorship that is the cornerstone to our program. However, we do have Agency Activities that we invite matches and their families to join such as our Annual Knoebels Picnic as well as engagement activities for parents/guardians. Please speak to your Program Specialist for more information.

  • A Program Specialist is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA employee who is trained and experienced in the process of matching Bigs and Littles from the first inquiry through the enrollment and matching processes and even in supporting the Bigs and Littles once they are matched.

  • During the interview and assessment portions of enrollment, Bigs, Littles, and parents/guardians are given safety training, program rules & expectations, and the opportunity to discuss aspects of the program with their Program Specialist. Once matched, the Program Specialist continues to keep in touch at a minimum of once a month to complete Match Support during the first year of the match and quarterly after the first year. Match Support provides ongoing supervision and support to the matches.

  • Matches are expected to stay in the program for a minimum of one (1) year, but ideally will stay together to develop the mentorship until the Little turns 18 or graduates from high school.

  • Any contact once the match is closed will not be under the supervision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA. However, many of our long-term matches who have graduated from the program choose to keep in touch, as they have developed and established their mentoring relationship. This is the decision of Littles over 18 years of age or the parent/guardian. We love to hear these success stories and the impact that our program has had on the lives of Bigs, Littles, and their families!

  • To ensure we create long-lasting matches, we have a thorough enrollment process that includes questionnaires, interviews, trainings, and additional information gathering. We create matches based on shared interests, commonalities, and by determining if the volunteer’s strengths will help the youth reach their goals. Before the match begins, your Program Specialist will go over non-identifying details of the potential match and get approval from each party (Big, Little, & parent/guardian).

  • We understand that meeting new people can sometimes be awkward or uncomfortable, so our Program Specialists are here to help break the ice and provide feedback, ideas, and activities to help new matches. Going into a match with proper expectations of the time it can take to start forming the mentorship is essential. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t work out. People move, situations change, and if a match has to end early, it is advised to discuss these circumstances with the Program Specialist to determine the next steps. We ask all of our matches to complete a Match Closure process at the end of their match, which facilitates the end of the match and allows for each party to have their voice heard and choose whether to re-enroll at that time.

  • A Big is a Defender of Potential, but what does that mean? The first step is basic relationship building with your Little as well as the parent or guardian. We highly recommend forming a strong relationship with the parent or guardian, as you are both working to help the Little reach their goals. Each Little enters the program with their own unique situation and set of goals. As their mentor, you are not expected to be a replacement parent or babysitter, but an extra form of support to help them develop their pre-existing potential into the strengths that they can become.

  • A Little is expected to actively participate and be present in their match. Littles are also expected to be open with their parent or guardian and Program Specialist about their match, to help facilitate the most positive experience and achieve their goals.

  • The role of the parents and guardians in our program is vital. We are all a team working towards the goals of the youth, so open communication and timely feedback are required for the program to work.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA is a completely voluntary program, because we understand the value of self-determination, so the first requirement is simply to want to be involved. Our Bigs are required to be at least 16 for Site-Based programs and 18+ with a driver’s license for Community-Based programs. We do not have an age cut-off for Bigs, rather we encourage Bigs of all ages to share their wealth of experiences and knowledge with the Littles in our program. Littles are youth who could use extra support to help them develop their potential and can be matched between ages 6-16. Littles can remain matched until age 18 or upon graduation from high school.

  • Interested in becoming a volunteer or enrolling your child in the program? Learn more about becoming a big by clicking here, and learn more about enrolling your child here!

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeastern Pennsylvania is a one-to-one mentorship program that makes meaningful, monitored matches between Bigs (volunteers) and Littles (local youth). Through these matches, our purpose is to defend, empower, and ignite the Littles’ potential and help them to reach their goals.

  • Bigs and Littles in Community-Based programs complete Match Activities together, which are activities such as playing games, doing crafts, visiting a playground or library, or learning new skills together.  Match Activities are activities that are child-friendly, approved by the parent or guardian, within agency guidelines, and allow for the Big & Little to spend time and learn from each other. Site-Based programs often have set activities or curriculums for the matches to complete together.

    If there is ever a struggle to find activities to do together, we can recommend fun and educational ideas.

  • The ideal amount of time matches to meet is between 1-3 hours every week or at least 4 hours per month.

  • Match Activities between Bigs and Littles are one-to-one, as the one-to-one aspect helps to develop the mentorship that is the cornerstone to our program. However, we do have Agency Activities that we invite matches and their families to join such as our Annual Knoebels Picnic as well as engagement activities for parents/guardians. Please speak to your Program Specialist for more information.

  • A Program Specialist is a Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA employee who is trained and experienced in the process of matching Bigs and Littles from the first inquiry through the enrollment and matching processes and even in supporting the Bigs and Littles once they are matched.

  • During the interview and assessment portions of enrollment, Bigs, Littles, and parents/guardians are given safety training, program rules & expectations, and the opportunity to discuss aspects of the program with their Program Specialist. Once matched, the Program Specialist continues to keep in touch at a minimum of once a month to complete Match Support during the first year of the match and quarterly after the first year. Match Support provides ongoing supervision and support to the matches.

  • Matches are expected to stay in the program for a minimum of one (1) year, but ideally will stay together to develop the mentorship until the Little turns 18 or graduates from high school.

  • Any contact once the match is closed will not be under the supervision of Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA. However, many of our long-term matches who have graduated from the program choose to keep in touch, as they have developed and established their mentoring relationship. This is the decision of Littles over 18 years of age or the parent/guardian. We love to hear these success stories and the impact that our program has had on the lives of Bigs, Littles, and their families!

  • To ensure we create long-lasting matches, we have a thorough enrollment process that includes questionnaires, interviews, trainings, and additional information gathering. We create matches based on shared interests, commonalities, and by determining if the volunteer’s strengths will help the youth reach their goals. Before the match begins, your Program Specialist will go over non-identifying details of the potential match and get approval from each party (Big, Little, & parent/guardian).

  • We understand that meeting new people can sometimes be awkward or uncomfortable, so our Program Specialists are here to help break the ice and provide feedback, ideas, and activities to help new matches. Going into a match with proper expectations of the time it can take to start forming the mentorship is essential. Unfortunately, sometimes things just don’t work out. People move, situations change, and if a match has to end early, it is advised to discuss these circumstances with the Program Specialist to determine the next steps. We ask all of our matches to complete a Match Closure process at the end of their match, which facilitates the end of the match and allows for each party to have their voice heard and choose whether to re-enroll at that time.

  • A Big is a Defender of Potential, but what does that mean? The first step is basic relationship building with your Little as well as the parent or guardian. We highly recommend forming a strong relationship with the parent or guardian, as you are both working to help the Little reach their goals. Each Little enters the program with their own unique situation and set of goals. As their mentor, you are not expected to be a replacement parent or babysitter, but an extra form of support to help them develop their pre-existing potential into the strengths that they can become.

  • A Little is expected to actively participate and be present in their match. Littles are also expected to be open with their parent or guardian and Program Specialist about their match, to help facilitate the most positive experience and achieve their goals.

  • The role of the parents and guardians in our program is vital. We are all a team working towards the goals of the youth, so open communication and timely feedback are required for the program to work.

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of NEPA is a completely voluntary program, because we understand the value of self-determination, so the first requirement is simply to want to be involved. Our Bigs are required to be at least 16 for Site-Based programs and 18+ with a driver’s license for Community-Based programs. We do not have an age cut-off for Bigs, rather we encourage Bigs of all ages to share their wealth of experiences and knowledge with the Littles in our program. Littles are youth who could use extra support to help them develop their potential and can be matched between ages 6-16. Littles can remain matched until age 18 or upon graduation from high school.

  • Interested in becoming a volunteer or enrolling your child in the program? Learn more about becoming a big by clicking here, and learn more about enrolling your child here!